Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop – Incredible All-Around Photo Editors
There are a lot of very effective photo editors out there, but the best photography software for getting the most out of your photos, would have to be the combination of Lightroom and Photoshop. Especially if you are shooting in RAW format (which you absolutely should be), Lightroom does an amazing job at accessing the high dynamic range of your photos. This means lighting up the darkest shadows, while at the same dimming the overexposed sky. Also with the new Lightroom 6, you have the powerful and groundbreaking ability to stitch together RAW files into a panorama, and then continue working on it as a RAW file.
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Lightroom is your go-to app for organizing, enhancing, and sharing your images, whether they’re from your iPhone, point and shoot, or DSLR. It allows you to synch adjustments in bulk, saving tons of time. This is an incredibly powerful tool, and you will end up using it every day. To learn how to use this powerful software, I recommend one of these awesome Lightroom tutorials.
Photoshop gives you the tools to combine multiple images, remove objects and retouch photos so you can transform your images into anything you can imagine. There is a reason this is the most well-known and best photo editing software, and you can download it for a free trial to test it out and get used to the functionality. If you are just getting started with this program, I highly recommend this great Photoshop for beginners course.
Admittedly, knowing where to start can be kind of daunting and confusing when you first open up your Lightroom application. There seem to be an infinite number of settings, and the nuances of each one are often so weird and technical that you aren’t really sure what your doing by adjusting this setting or that. That’s why smart photographers have taken the time to create step-by-step tutorials for how to use Lightroom photography software. They even have bonus material that includes Lightroom settings presets, specifically designed and adjusted to make your photos better.
HDR Software – Get Amazing Photo Effects from your Photography
HDR, or High Dynamic Range photography has become very popular in the past few years. So too, has become the practice of over-stylized HDR. This is where the image looks unrealistic and over-processed. Sometimes this is the desired effect, and it does in fact look amazingly cool. However for most people, the goal is to achieve a realistic, high-powered image that says “wow”.
A classic problem with photography involves lighting. A camera can only adjust for a certain range of light as it enters the camera lens, so what the camera does (or the photographer who knows what he/she is doing), is select a certain part of the photo to have perfect lighting. In a picture of a landscape for example, the problem is that the amount of exposure required for the ground is very different from the amount of exposure required for the sky. So you end up getting either one or the other: a dark sky and well-lit foreground, or a perfectly colored sky and a very dark foreground. HDR is essentially being able to keep both the sky and the foreground at the desired level. It is increasing the dynamic range of the photo’s exposure, and allowing you to clearly see every element that is desired.
When done correctly, this is a powerful and amazingly crisp way to enhance and edit your photos to get a really cool realistic photo effect. First lesson to making this a success: Always. Shoot. In. RAW. The second lesson for success, is having the best photo editing software. Most of the time, I just use Lightroom and Photoshop to get this done, as they have very powerful built-in tools that enable really amazing quality HDR. However I also really recommend checking out Photomatix by HDRsoft for seriously amazing results with an HDR software. Those guys put together a really awesome platform, and they know what they are doing. They even offer a great free trial download of the software, so you can try it out and see if its right for you before buying.
Still feel like you need more understanding of how to do this well? The guys over at Stuck In Customs have a really awesome and helpful in-depth tutorial for creating amazing HDR images. If you want to do it right, all the information is right there. They were even kind enough to give a lot of the secrets away in their promotional video: