One name dominates digital photo editing, and that’s Adobe. Its flagship Photoshop software is the industry standard — it’s used to help make the website you’re reading now, and it costs $699. Happily, there are alternative applications that won’t break the bank and that can do everything the photography enthusiast could ever need. The following is an overview of your top options, as well as a few interesting plugins and narrower-purpose apps we recommend.
If you’ve written off web apps as underpowered imitations of desktop software, think again. Many of today’s web apps are as good as their Finder-bound counterparts, and some even do your work for you! Web apps are convenient, too: since they live in the cloud with their related files, you can run them in a browser on almost any computer without worrying about backups or hunting through hard drives for important documents. Best of all, many web apps are free, and allow you to pay for more advanced features as you go, if and when you need them.
Over the next few pages, we’ll uncover some of the best web apps available—ones that can perform the most important tasks in your digital lifestyle. You might think that only desktop software can handle them, but read on. That notion is about to change.
While Instagram’s soaring popularity would have you believe it’s God’s gift to photography, there are plenty of other options available for iOS. Narrowing that ever-increasing list down to something truly great — especially for the iPad — is another story entirely. Available in three flavors for Mac, iPhone/iPod touch, or iPad, MacPhun’s FX Photo Studio has long been one of the better choices available. With support for iOS 6, iPad mini and Retina Display, in one fell swoop FX Photo Studio HD 5.0 breathes new life into one of the most powerful methods for editing photos you’ll find on the iPad.
It hasn’t been quite a full year since Adobe last released a new version of its consumer-centric image editor, Photoshop Elements. During this time, the company has worked hard to incorporate more code from its big brother, and the impressive results are available now.
The Clone tool is more than just a duplicator. It can help you fill in empty spots if you, say, remove an opject from a photo. It can also be used for airbrushing, or even removing logos from objects. And, if you're a photographer, you can use Apeture to do the cloning deed without firing up Photoshop. Read on to learn how.
CameraBag 2 is an app that enables you to add retro-style filters to digital photographs. But while many similar apps are quite simple and limited, CameraBag 2 offers a huge number of options, which can be mixed and matched with relative ease. We say "relative" because the interface is rather quirky and not particularly Mac-like. But not to worry – once you’ve worked through this walkthrough, you’ll be adding soul and warmth to your digital snaps with ease.
Photographers have never had it so good. There’s no fumbling around installing new film, no saving a few shots on the roll “just in case,” and no disappointment when you get your prints back and your photos didn’t turn out like you expected. Shooting digitally gives you convenience, previews, and almost limitless shots--but it doesn’t give you warmth and character.
Every photographer needs a good tool for organizing digital photos on their computer--it’s almost more crucial than a photo editor, since not ever photo necessarily needs edits, but they all need somewhere to live, where they can be found again. Apple’s options include iPhoto (free with new Macs or $14.99 in the Mac App Store) and Aperture ($79.99). If you’re an Adobe fan, you can use a folder-browsing program like Adobe Bridge (part of Creative Suite 5) or, if you have one of the most recent versions of Photoshop Elements ($79.99), you might be using the Elements Organizer.
Various flavors of Photoshop have become synonymous with the concepts of image-editing and working creatively with bitmaps, beyond basic photo-editing offered by the likes of iPhoto. However, a number of low-cost alternatives to Adobe’s Photoshop (and its consumer-based sibling, Elements) exist -- including Flying Meat’s Acorn -- and they’re getting better with every release.