Even the greatest photographers need a little help. A picture is ostensibly worth a thousand words, but it can say even more with a few modest enhancements. Anyone who takes a selfie can modify their pictures so effectively that they will seem like experts. Similarly, professionals who show expertise with such apps find new, more highly paid work. Picking the perfect products proves critical to these endeavors. Here are the best four photo editing software products for professional-looking pics.
Adobe Photoshop has ruled over the editing software landscape for roughly 30 years now. It debuted in 1988 and has undergone countless changes over the years to maintain its dominance in the industry. In 2007, Adobe introduced Lightroom as a workflow tool that could either complement or replace Photoshop. Its primary purpose was to compete against Apple’s Aperture, which is now defunct.
These two apps have positioned Adobe as the leader in photo editing software. The only reason you’re not likely to buy them is their prices. Purchasing both products costs almost $1,000. Historically, Adobe charged that because people would pay it. Recently, they adopted a different sales tactic.
To entice more consumers to use Adobe for photo editing, they’ve changed to a monthly subscription plan. You can now use both Photoshop and Lightroom for $9.99 per month. That’s the equivalent of eight years of monthly payments and not a single upfront charge. For starving artists trying to become professional photographers, these apps are now affordable.
Serif Affinity Photo
Some users want a license for their editing software. That’s where Serif Affinity Photo comes into play. Arguably the best Photoshop competitor in the marketplace today, this app costs $50 in the iTunes store. Its manufacturer, Serif, announced in 2016 that it would release new versions for Windows and Google Store as well.
What do you get for your $50? This product’s robust programming rivals all but the most recent version of Photoshop with regards to functionality. It’s got the finest vector drawings and illustrations available today. More important, the app’s speed and efficiency are the gold standard on portable devices. Serif Affinity Photo also includes customization options that allow users to develop their own software editing behaviors. At this point, the only true advantage Photoshop offers overs a competitor that costs a fraction of the price is plug-in support. Serif Affinity Photo provides amazing value for $50.
The best price for a starving artist isn’t $120 annually, though. It’s free. If money is a concern, Google is generally the best choice. This tech-industry leader dedicates significant resources to building quality products that it offers free of charge. In 2004, Google acquired Picasa from Lifescape and turned it into freeware. In 2016, they evolved Picasa into a more robust product known as Google Photos.
Their latest iteration of the former Picasa tool is an editing program that operates under the assumption that simplicity is everything. Google Photos is a web-based image sharing service that adds social media features derived from Google+. It offers unlimited storage and such an intuitive editing feature set that even a beginner will quickly feel like an expert. It’s also mobile-friendly and great with cameras, too. Even if you have one of the best professional worthy digital cameras, any picture can benefit from a few minor edits.
PaintShop Pro X8
The first version of PaintShop worked on Windows 3.0. It’s one of the greatest legacy apps of the 20th century. Since Corel acquired rights to the editing tool in 2004, it has improved an already near-perfect product.
The current version, PaintShop Pro X8, is ideal for photographers who take countless pictures. It does a great job categorizing and filtering through a large collection of photographs. Its facial recognition software separates subjects into proper folders. Similarly, you can sort images via keywords. The product is also the gold standard in auto-sorting, which allows you to dump a huge batch of images into the program then let it decide where everything goes. It’s a tremendous value for $75.
You live in the golden age of photography. By choosing any of the four products listed above, you can accentuate your artistry and thereby master your craft.