As a digital photographer, I’ve always enjoyed uploading my photos to my computer and playing around with them in photo editing software.  I’ve found that I can make my good photos even better, and oftentimes I can salvage a boring, hum-drum photo and turn it into something that’s really worthwhile. So using Photoshop has become routine for me.

There are a lot of different photo editing software suites out there, from the ultra-basic programs bundled with Microsoft Windows to professional-level software programs running hundreds or even thousands of dollars.  Though there are a lot of options, Adobe Photoshop software has become the standard for many photographers, both amateur and professional, for good reason.

Though it’s sometimes tough to keep track of all of the different versions of Adobe Photoshop software (there have been more than ten), all of them share some of the same characteristics.  This is especially true after Photoshop 7, since most later generations of the software have focused mainly on fine-tuning the software suite without introducing any major, earth-shattering changes.  One of the key aspects of Adobe Photoshop software is that Photoshop makes it quick and easy to take care of most of the common tasks people want their photo editing software to do.  Cropping a photo takes a couple seconds, as does adjusting the light levels, brightness, or contrast within a photo.

There are also different filters or effects Photoshop can apply to photos, from lithograph effects to embossing to solarization; almost any visual effect is only a couple clicks away.

Though many other photo editing programs make simple photo manipulation easy, what really sets Adobe Photoshop software apart from other photo editing programs is the ease of using its more advanced features.  Selective color allows the user to home in on one particular color range, be it blues, greens, yellows, etc., and adjust its relative intensity.  Editing levels, saturation, and even color curves is also a snap, and Photoshop renders the colors of photos so well it’s often nearly impossible to tell that the photo has been altered when comparing shots before and after editing, aside from the fact that the “after” photo is usually sharper, better balanced, and more colorful. It’s Photoshop techniques like these and a few others listed on this site that make manipulating images so easy, resulting in more great-looking images.

Though Adobe Photoshop software is usually expensive, especially for the most recent version, past versions of the software can usually be tracked down for a reasonable price.  Whatever it costs, Photoshop’s cost can be easily justified when looking at the great photos it eventually produces.

PhotoShop Techniques:

Free Adobe Photohop Plugins

virtualPhotographer – This free plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Elements and Paint Shop Pro lets you instantly apply high-quality, professional styles to your images with just one click and includes over 50 presets that automatically apply combinations of film grain,color modification, high contrast, etc. The plug-in can also provide some image manipulation. Only works on PCs though.

Adobe Photoshop Videos:

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