As a photographer, your job is not complete with just the clicking of the picture. Usually, the hard part comes after. The actual photo itself can be thought of as an outline and now you need to colour it in to make the picture complete. This is because any photographer worth his salt would shoot in RAW. RAW is a file format where the pictures have minimal processing on them by the camera. A photographer has a lot of freedom to do what he wants to do in post-processing because all of it will be exactly as he wants it to be. But for post-processing you need software. So the question arises which software is best?
This is a list in no particular order. All these softwares are great in their own regard. Some are better suited to one use-case over another.
- DxO Optic Pro 10:
This software initially came out as a tool for correcting the distortion, lens aberrations and edge softness that are present in almost all lenses, using specially developed profiles. But now the functionality has been extended to advanced RAW conversion tools that help you get the best dynamic range, colour information and maximum definition from an image. There is also a range of colour and tone adjustments to choose from, but unfortunately, none of it is localized. The only downside to using Optic Pro 10 is you would still need standalone tools to manipulate and organize the images.
It is available for Mac and PC. Optic Pro 11 costs around $200 (13,207 INR) as a one-time purchase.
- Corel PaintShop Pro X8:
PaintShop Pro is the rival to the ever-popular Photoshop by Adobe. It is built with almost all the functionality that Photoshop has though it works a little bit differently. If you are familiar with Photoshop it won’t take you long to adapt to PaintShop Pro. There is also the helpful Learning Centre built in to help understand the software better. The downside of this software is it works a bit slowly compared to Photoshop and there’s also the price to consider.
It is available only on the PC. PaintShop Pro costs around $100 (6,603 INR) a year as a subscription-based service.
- Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop and Lightroom):
These two software’s are considered as one because they are currently bought as one under the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan. They complement each other extremely well because both of them are needed to make that perfect edit. Photoshop is a lot more technical with a lot of tools that are presented in a clean and fast interface. But it is limited in the way that it does not provide a library for photos and there are hardly any single click effects that you can apply. This is where Lightroom comes in. Lightroom catalogues your images and helps you apply effects to your picture in a non-permanent way. But Lightroom does not provide tools for layers, masks, selections and retouching that Photoshop is so great for. But if you use both together they are unbeatable in its functionality.
It is available on both PC and Mac. Photoshop and Lightroom are available for $10 (660 INR) per month as a subscription-based service.
Now you might be a photographer starting out and would not want to dish out the cash needed to get this powerful software. You might be looking for something free and has no commitment. This is why GIMP has the title of the best free photo editing software. It has a lot of functionality built in and is highly efficient at what it does but unfortunately, it is quite difficult to use and does not have the same creature comforts like the other software on this list has.