- Tue, 17 Jun 2008
For a lot of people, digital photography means just taking their memory card to a high-street lab and getting prints made. For others, it means storing images on the computer or building web galleries. There’s a bewildering array of software available to facilitate everyone’s needs and budget – from simple, automated fixes to powerful image-editing suites.
The best known is image enhancement and manipulation software, such as the ubiquitous Adobe Photoshop. Then there’s the plethora of organising, viewing and image-management software. These categories are beginning to merge with the latest-generation apps such as Photoshop Elements 5 and Corel PaintShop Pro Photo XI, which perform both functions.
Raw processing software, designed specifically for working with Raw image files, is a growing sector. And then there are the many specialist applications and Photoshop plug-ins that do specific things such as create panoramas, sharpen your pictures or enlarge them beyond their natural size.
WDC regularly tests the most popular, the most useful and even some of the more unusual software designed to help you get the best from your images. And some of it is even free!
Download or CD?
Many smaller applications can only be downloaded from the web, but for bigger applications this can be time-consuming. A CD version also ensures you have a back-up copy should you suffer any PC problems. Make a back-up CD of any software you download, to be on the safe side.
Judge Your Needs
While we love Adobe Photoshop at WDC, it’s a complicated program and unnecessary if you just want to view your pictures and fix the occasional red-eye problem.
Check you’re buying software that’s compatible with your system – Mac software won’t work on a PC and some programs require powerful processors, graphics cards or RAM capacity.
Keep Up To Date
Check for software updates – bug fixes, security updates or even new technology is often added to software on an on-going basis. These should be free from the developer’s website, though new full versions of software usually have to be paid for, either for a reduced rate upgrade price or for full price.