There has been much debate about which one is the best post-processing software for photography. I decided to write on this topic because I am also confused on this matter and wanted to see what my readers has to say about it. Photography grew as a hobby within me and now it’s becoming a serious passion. I do not do it to make my living out of it, at least not until today but, I have to admit that it's an expensive hobby to have. As you learn more and more, you will find that you know very little and there is more area for the improvement. Learning is never ending cycle but it is fun learning when you are learning about something you love doing. On my learning process, I stumbled upon post-processing software.
When you search online about our today’s topic, you will get hundreds of thousands of articles and they all have mixed opinions. There are many software available in the market and they all have their positive sides as well as some negative. But I think getting any particular software is an individual choice and also depends on many factors like how expensive is it?, do I really need it? and may be how steep is the learning curve? and so on.
Personally, I had never used any expensive and complex software to edit my photos. Most of the time, I use Google Picasa to crop my images, put watermarks and tweak some lighting and color saturation. But nowadays, I have been shooting RAW images occasionally and I felt the need for good software to edit my pictures. I did little bit of research on the internet and got Nikon Capture NX2 recently. But, for the most of the time, and also depending on the situation, I don't process them much. Some people may use it because they have heard about it and want to try it out but don't really need it? When I just started photography, I didn't want to spend couple hundred dollars to buy an expensive software just to edit the picture. I used free software that were available to download for anyone and didn’t have much learning curve as well. As I started learning more about photography, I also learned that spending little bit of money for the software also became necessary if I wanted the best result. Free is good but not the best always.
I have also downloaded GIMP but haven't had chance to use it that much. Some people say it's the best and free alternative for the Photoshop Elements. I have also got some suggestions about post processing from pro photographers. And they said, when you start shooting in a RAW mode, that is the only time you might want to start using post-processing software to edit the details. Most of the time, specially if it is a friends and family gathering, I shoot in JPEG FINE mode and do not feel the need of editing much except cropping sometimes.
Anyway, here is the list of few popular and standard post processing software I found during my research.
Capture NX 2 (Nikon)
Adobe Photoshop (Licensed)
Apple Aperture (Licensed)
iPhoto (Comes with MAC)
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (Licensed)
These are my short list but you can get any software depending on your need and availability in the market. There are many more choices but please do some research before you spend your hard earned money on it. If you are a pro photographer and make your living from photography, post-processing software is a must have tool in today’s market. But, if you are doing photography just for fun or starting it out as a hobby, then may be its a good idea to learn from freely available software first and then slowly move towards the licensed software by properly calculating your need and budget for it.
If you have got any software for post-processing, please feel free to share your experience and let us know what do you think about it.