Did you watch The Bridges of Madison County? Clint Eastwood as the photographer, Robert Kincaid, spent days waiting for the light to be just right to capture an image of a bridge. How different his life would have been if he had lived in the digital photography era. He could have taken his photograph anytime and then turned it into the image he really wanted with one of the sophisticated photo imaging and editing software packages that are now available.
Whilst digital photography may have spoilt the fun of traditional photographers it has made it possible for the amateur to produce quite stunning images, provided he is willing to take a little time learning and using a piece of image editing software. It also enables the professional to take his art to ever higher levels of quality–maybe even to perfection. For both amateur and professional, it means that the refrigerator no longer needs to be packed with film.
So where to start? That depends much on what is needed.
Basic entry level photo editing software can correct all of the usual photographic mistakes such as wrong lighting, red eye and contrast. Even background images can be altered to remove the tree that appears to be growing out of the subject’s head. (Who hasn’t had that happen at one time or another?)
But the range of software is now enormous, as are the functions they all offer, and once the move is made away from the basic packages, the choice becomes a little more complicated. However, with some decent research the individual photographer can decide which features are essential to them and choose a package accordingly.
For the photographer who specializes in portraits, photo retouching software can make the pictures of his models look just perfect and blemish free. Some of these packages will even allow the application of a little light virtual make-up to enhance appearance.
360 degree software enables a series of photo images to be seamlessly stitched together to produce a panoramic view. Anyone looking at the result can effectively rotate the resulting image around their viewpoint a complete 360 degrees.
How about software that now allows digital images to be shared with friends, relatives and business associates without the need for large, bandwidth consuming graphics files to be sent by email? And when it comes to presentation, digital photo players can now use the images, which have been taken, edited and stored with digital technology, to play them in a slide show on either the television, computer screen or even a magical photograph frame.
And, it is not just photographs that have been taken with a digital camera that can be manipulated in this way. With a scanner it is possible for anyone, including Robert Kincaid, to convert their whole photographic library to digital format. These older and perhaps even damaged images can be stored safely forever, without fear of deterioration, on the hard drive of your computer. Old black and white photos can be edited to become color images or perhaps sepia tone prints.
There is no doubt that with digital photo imaging and editing software we can all appear to be expert photographers–after all the camera never lies… though photo editing software can perhaps bend the truth a little.