Just about anyone who takes digital photos uses some form of a digital imaging program, whether it is a simple application that was provided with the camera or a top of the line, industry-standard software like Adobe Photoshop. Before the dawn of digital cameras, most people owned film cameras and would send their negatives to commercial photo labs to be developed. Traditional darkroom processing involves chemicals and machinery that the developer uses to bring out highlights and shadows and adjust contrast or color on the prints. Today, that is all done with a digital imaging program. Photos can be cropped, and scaled, the lighting levels and color saturation adjusted with a few clicks of a mouse.

Adobe Photoshop is one of the most recognized image editing programs on the market, and it is also one of the most expensive. Hobbyists do not need to pay around $500 for such a superior program. In fact, the breakthrough tools for photography editing, superior image selections, realistic painting, would overwhelm the average user. Most people only need to crop, scale, sharpen and enhance color on their photos. Adobe offers Photoshop Elements, a scaled down version of Photoshop and costs under $100 for the latest version.  Another cheap option is an open-source or freeware digital imaging program. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a popular open-source application, and it is available as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Regardless of whether a person is serious fine art photographer or an enthusiastic shutterbug, he or she will benefit from using a digital imaging program. While professionals may require full-featured editing, smaller, simpler applications provide more than enough editing tools for a hobbyist. Many vendors offer free trial versions, thus it is possible to compare program features and tools to determine which application meets one’s needs before plunking down a lot of cash.

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