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A look at photo editing

Updated on January 20, 2016

When it comes to photos, everyone wants a photo of them to look as good as possible. However, due to circumstances out with our control this isn’t always possible. With the advent of more powerful PCs, it was easier for photographers to be able to manipulate a photo in such a way that any imperfections could be removed with relative ease.

However, for a long time this feature was only available if you had photos professionally taken by a photographer who had access to cutting edge PC hardware and photo editing software.

Adobe Photoshop

Over time, as PCs not only became even more powerful but also more affordable, it got to the stage that individuals could in theory start to edit their own photos in a way that would allow them to remove and alter parts of the images that they weren’t entirely pleased with.

This was greatly accelerated at the time by the Adobe Photoshop package which is still widely used to this day by not only enthusiasts, but also by professionals within the industry.

However, at the time, one of the biggest problems with Photoshop was that it was so expensive that it widely deterred users from buying the software and learning how to use it since they were afraid to take the plunge. In effect, the software was now available for everyone to buy (provided that they had the hardware to accommodate it), but in reality it was still for a long period of time tied to professionals and semi-professionals as a way to alter photos. The price of the software package was just too high.

Fast forward a couple of years and whilst the price of the main Photoshop package was still pretty high, Adobe had actually released a cheaper, more barebones edition of their software dubbed ‘Elements’. Whilst it is still available today, many see Elements as a teasing sample of what is possible in Photoshop but it falls short of providing the functionality that you really need with photo editing software that resulted in you searching for Photoshop in the first place.

A steep learning curve

The other big issue with Photoshop for a lot of users is that the learning curve associated with it is huge, and the previous knowledge picked up by those using Elements doesn’t really transition well into the full package so it’s not really that helpful. This is also true of those that use the Premiere video editing package, with Elements being little more than a Windows Movie Maker upgrade at a pretty big price.

In that case it is no surprise that there are hundreds of books available to purchase that focus on how to get to grips with Photoshop. Even Adobe acknowledges this issue with the fact that they have countless videos on their website showing how to carry out fairly simple tasks like teeth whitening.

Of course, for the entry level enthusiast this also poses a problem since they’re most likely only going to have a single monitor setup, and thus constantly having to jump back and forth between windows when trying to learn how to carry out a single task.

The cloud brings a lot of storms

By now, many have heard of the concept of cloud computing and the very idea of this has crept into Photoshop. Now, users have to pay a monthly fee as well as being connected online to make use of the software.

Supposing a freelancer who previously decided to pay a one off fee with a less than stable internet connection now decides to use the Photoshop CC version instead. The end result is that they’re going to be out of pocket, as well as not being able to edit any content whilst they are offline.

For many, they had entered into photo editing as a side business. Sites like Craigslist in the USA and Gumtree in the UK made it extremely easy for people to post up adverts saying that they would fix minor imperfections on photos cheaply.

However as anyone that freelances knows, sometimes you can go for months without work. The issue with a subscription based model is that you could go for a long period of time without actually using the software and thus you’re losing money.

When you compare this to a one off (and overall cheaper payment when you add it up over the lifespan of the software), it’s a bitter pill to swallow for the freelancers and professionals alike. The lack of being able to use it without an internet connection too. It’s already been mentioned it’s an issue for those that don’t have access to a stable broadband connection, but what about those that are going away for a while on business but still wants to use Photoshop but can’t because of this limited activity.

You’ve got to be connected the whole time that you’re using the program which isn’t the best if you’re only able to do the work in short bursts.

Using online photo editors

Thankfully as broadband speeds have improved drastically, you are able to use a photo editor online. The benefit of this is that not only can the work be done in the fraction of the time in which it is done in Photoshop, there is no steep learning curve to it either.

On top of this, for the majority of sites they are actually free to use so you’re also saving a fortune by not having to take out a subscription for Photoshop in this instance.

Using a photo editor online is the ideal way for freelancers to make a bit of money initially and once they’ve built up a strong client base they may then wish to take out a subscription, but for many using the free tools online would be a more than ample solution.

I have previously tried Pink Mirror and found it to be a safe site to access and also effective in altering my photos in the fraction of the time that it takes me to do it in Photoshop.


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