Business owners should not have any doubt about the important role that good product photographs play in the success of your business. This is where image editing software can be really handy. A simple touch-up using one of these programs can go a long way in transforming an ordinary photograph into an eye-catching product. You can also design and create promotional material like your business logo, flyers, booklets, and the like. The sooner you become skilled at one of these applications, the better it is for your business.
There are dozens of photo editing software out there; some are for free, while others come at a price. And while the basic features and functions are the same, each has its own pros and cons.
Let’s explore all of these options one by one and see what each of them can bring to the table.
You can’t help but start from the Adobe Family when it comes to image editing. While Photoshop CS is the flagship for Adobe, it might be expensive for many small businesses, especially when you will hardly be using some of its more advanced features like compositing 3D objects into images or DICOM file support. On the other hand, Adobe Lightroom will let you use almost all editing features (Crop, Sharpen, Color, Exposure, and Saturation Adjustment) at a much cheaper price.
If you have got the money to shell out (and some time to practice), then you should be going for Adobe Photoshop CS. And these two are not the only options, here’s a detailed comparison among the different Adobe software to help you choose the most suitable one.
Corel PaintShop Pro X5 Ultimate
Corel Paintshop Photo Pro is not as feature-rich as Photoshop CS, but it can do pretty much everything for a fraction of a price (color and tone adjustment, airbrushing, adding layers and choosing from hundreds of instant effects, making the most of high dynamic range). Beginners will also find the Paintshop Pro interface to be more user-friendly compared to Photoshop. The best part is, you can download a trial version and use it for free, for an entire month and see if it will be of help or not.
ACDSee Pro 6
ACDSee Pro 6 is relatively new in the market, but going by the success of its predecessor (i.e. ACDSee Pro 5) it will definitely be a frontrunner in the race of premium image editing software soon.
ACDSee Pro has all the features that you will need to give your product photographs the finishing touch including, but not limited to, white-balance correction, exposure and highlighting tools, noise reduction, sharpening, and lots of nifty masks and layer options. The latest version comes with additional features like non-destructive adjustment brush, native 64-bit support, brush on edits, and improved sharpening tools and Blur filter.
Serif PhotoPlus x5
PhotoPlus possesses everything you will need to edit your product photographs for maximum impact. The software has all the basic features like color adjustment, hue, saturation, or mask brushes; with some advanced ones like PhotoFix Studio. You can get a little creative with special features for photographs (Watercolor, Impressionist, Oil, Lens Flare, etc.) and text (Reflection, Shadows).
Extensive built-in tutorials are included in the software to help guide you on how to properly edit images using Photoplus.
GIMP is, to the world of free image editing software, what Photoshop is to the world of paid applications. The interface may be complex for beginners, but a huge array of editing features will more than make up it.
GIMP can do almost everything (Layer Groups, Channel Mixers, Curves), as well as add-ons for improved usability, that other premium software offers. All you need is to show some patience and spend some time trying to get a hang of this free, yet powerful software.
Pixelmator is one of those handy low-cost options for small store owners. At a very reasonable price you will get a photo editing software with a beautiful interface, lots of photo editing tools, layers, sponge, and filters. The early versions didn’t have support for RAW files but the latest one has built-in support for that. To use Pixelmator, however, you need to be a MAC user.
Another free image editing software from Google, Picasa can crop and lighten up your product photographs, control color, hue, and saturation, and remove any kind of imperfections. There are some cool effects like Soft-focus, Sharpening, Warmify, Cross Process, and Orton-ish. Also, there are plugins that you can use to upload photographs directly to your stores.
Things to Remember:
- Photoshop is by far the most powerful graphic designing and photo editing tool, however many of its advance features are just bells and whistles as far as photo editing is concerned.
- Search online for discount or coupon codes or any promotional deal to save big while purchasing one of those premium software.
- Use free trial versions to see which one will suit your needs and requirements, instead of relying solely on online reviews, because the usability will differ from one user to another.
- You need to use these software to present your product in the best possible way, but touching up shouldn’t be done to the extent of deception, because that will backfire in more than one ways.
Below are some tutorials to get you started with some of these applications.
Saba Mushtaq is a contributing writer for Very Best Software.