Stating the obvious... the camera is the most important tool in photography. It's the only tool you need. But there are many other tools that are available to make photography fun. Like editing software.
Pre-Evelyn I would spend hours in from of Photoshop CS3 playing around with RAW images. But when you become a mom, you lose all personal time. So that is when I made the switch the program that I use now. But before I get to that, let's talk a little about photo editing software options.
When looking to either buy or download software you should decide how much you want to spend, how much time you have to learn the program, and how much time you'll actually spend in front of it.
Photoshop (Elements, Lightroom, CS) is an amazing program. As I said, I would spend hours playing around with photos. The problem with Photoshop is that it is not an easy program to operate. You can enroll in classes to learn how to use all of it's functions if that is any indication as to how complicated it can be. But, if you want the widest range of creative options then it's the only way to go. I honestly do not recommend spending the money on the program unless you plan to work professionally as a photographer. It's just not worth the time or money unless you already own it.
There are several easy programs on the Internet (some free!) that work well for everyday editing. They include basic options such as contrast, saturation, borders, sharpening, brightening/darkening, cropping, resizing, etc. In fact, you may already have one of these programs on your computer. Microsoft Picture Manager. For very basic editing, this program works fine.
Now the program that I have been using since the birth of our daughter is Photoscape.
You can download the program for free by clicking this link: Free Photoscape Download
It's quick. It's fairly simple. It offers a wide range of options when it comes to editing. It's FREE. And it's really all you need. Now if you are looking for a program where you can airbrush your children into magazine models, this is not your program. You are better off purchasing Photoshop. But this program allows you to be creative without being over the top.
You can even access their how-to pages by clicking HERE.
Photo editing software is not so that you can turn your photographs into something they are not or to completely edit out the personality in your children. Freckles, scratches, skinned up knees, and blemishes are what gives a photograph of a child character. I do not edit out the imperfections of my daughter and I challenge you to not either with your own children. Rather, embrace them.
So now that you have a fun photo editing program, get creative with your images. The deadline for submitting images for our last photo assignment, how you beat cabin fever is tomorrow so get those images into me as soon as possible. And here is the next photo assignment!
Photo Assignment: Black and White
I'd like for you to take and submit a photo which best portrays an opposite of some sort. Then turn it black and white. The deadline to submit photos for this assignment is Sunday, January 23, 2011. Please email the photographs to me at email@example.com
Now go have fun playing around with your photo editor!