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Best Photo Editing Programs for Camera Buffs

by Mark Gray
on September 1
with Comments Off

Best Photo Editing Programs for Camera Buffs

A lot has changed in the world of digital photography since your first digital camera. Besides giving you many more pixels per photo, today’s equipment offers more advanced capabilities including the ability to save to raw camera files. These advancements call for more sophisticated photo editing software to handle processing of better pictures. It comes as no surprise that such image editing staples as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Paintshop Pro have come a long way too.

Special photo editing programs are made for enthusiast photographers who are looking to do more with the captured images than simply apply a few touch-ups and post them online. For a person who needs to do just that, one of simple editors such as Windows Live Photo Gallery or Google’s Picasa will be quite sufficient. However, if you would like to kick it up a notch and have some real fun with your photos, you may want to consider one of the photo buff tailored products we list below.

Photo editing applications made for photography enthusiasts can provide quite a bit more to take your photos to a new level of viewing pleasure. The special effects you can apply to your shots using these programs go far beyond the usual red eye removal or touchups that you can get with entry-level software, and at the standard price tag of about USD80 these programs are worth every penny. You can use Photoshop Elements or Corel PaintShop to completely remove an unwanted person or object from the image, and with Photoshop Elements you can even fill in missing parts of a panorama combined from a series of shots. One could even say that these applications get pretty close to what we have with the image editing king – Adobe Photoshop. At the same time, they make the same effects much easier to create and offer more guidance to users with no special graphic design education or experience.

Compared to professional workflow software, such as CyberLink PhotoDirector or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which are tailored toward processing of large quantities of photos by professional photographers, the consumer applications we are talking about today offer more in terms of special effects and pixel-level editing capabilities. With a program like that you can take on any creative project that requires giving your images special looks, such as oil painting, watercolor or sketch, and have results that are relatively easy to achieve and can really impress your viewers.

To accommodate your desire to show your creations to as many people as possible, several of these programs provide their own online picture galleries, where you can upload and display your images. Besides that, most of the programs let you print your pictures in a wide array of layouts, create slideshows with rich effects, accompanied by music and extravagant transitions. Sharing your photos on Facebook, Flickr or via email can be done with one mouse click in most of these apps too. So don’t hold back the artist in you – pick an app from the list below and wow your friends with your photo creations.

ACDSee 15

$69.99

One of ACDSee’s advantages is the speed with which it can display large files. Among other pluses are extensive interface configurability and advanced raw camera file support. Gigabytes of cloud storage along with other ways to easily share photos, the included well-illustrated tutorial, ability to add external editors or media software and manage large image collections make this program a great choice for home or even business use.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

$99.99

The newest version of the application is even more powerful and feature-rich than the previous ones, successfully combining many of Photoshop’s cool capabilities (face recognition included) with ease of use and intuitiveness. The amazing special effects, the extensive organization and sharing options all make for a great editing experience and mind-blowing results. If you wanted to work with Photoshop, but didn’t want to take a special course to learn the software, Photoshop Elements is your answer.

Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X5

$79.99

With face recognition and some other enhancements added in this version, PaintShop Pro X5 becomes a better equipped tool to make sprucing up and organizing your photos even more simple and fun. It is a little behind Photoshop Elements in advanced effects, but is less expensive and still a great choice for enthusiast photographers.

Serif PhotoPlus X6

$89.99

Serif PhotoPlus X6 is a pretty powerful photo editor, but lacks some of the features of its main competitors from Corel and Adobe. The software offers a simpler interface and a lot of help with using the features and effects, along with nifty ideas for creative projects. The main drawback is the lack of face recognition and some of the competition’s content-aware tools.

Mark Gray is editor-in-chief of SoftwareTested.com. He has worked for a number of big IT industry players during his career, and finally decided to pursue his passion and devote majority of his time and effort to bringing technology and the end user closer together.