What software should I get for my digital camera?

Your camera will come with all the software you need. Now let's talk about other software you might want.

Photo Editing software

Want to do some serious "darkroom" work? Tweaking contrast, improving color, building collages, going for special effects? You can do amazing things to improve images. You can enhance color, brighten underexposed regions of the photo, correct contrast and exposure problems. You can even get rid of power lines and trash cans.

The industry standard is Adobe Photoshop. It is powerful, fairly difficult to learn, and incredibly expensive (around $500).

Paint Shop Pro is my choice. It, too, is powerful, but it is easier to learn and costs around $100. You can download a 30-day free trial from Jasc. It will even do a few things better than Photoshop.

Transfer and viewing software

Digital cameras store a lot of hidden (EXIF) information about each photo in each image file. With the right software, you can view the date, time, aperture, shutter speed, flash setting, etc. of the image. This software also conveniently allows you to move files from your camera to a directory of your choosing, rotate images that were taken in portrait mode. Some will rename the photo based on the hidden information.

My favorite is P.I.E. This is the first software that touches every one of my images. Here is what it does for me:

This software does not do much, but it does some of the most frequent and important tasks and does these tasks very, very well. It is only $19.95. It is available from www.picmeta.com, along with a free trial download.

Irfanview is a very popular free utility that does many of the same things. It will also display a slide show of images. I do not like it as much as P.I.E. Its full screen images are of lower quality, and I find it a bit more cumbersome to use. However, it does have batch resize capability, and it is free. I include Irfanview on any CD's of images I give to friends.

Other photo organizing software includes Thumbs Plus and Thumber.

Automatic web page creation

A few of you need to get galleries of photos of events up with minimal effort and editing. What you want are collections of thumbnail size images linked to pages with larger versions of the same image. Click here for an example.

My favorite by far is Thumbnailer from www.smalleranimals.com. It is fantastic and only $29.95. It will resize the images, create all the HTML, and put in the links, all automatically. It has tremendous potential for customization if you so desire.

I shoot a lot of photos at church events, including our church's house-building trip in Kentucky each summer. At the end of the day I am tired and I want to get the day's photos up fast. This make the job effortless.

An alternative for this is the software Thumbs Plus, which does quite a few other image organizing tasks, too. For web page creation, I definitely prefer Thumbnailer. I find it creates pages that are easier to navigate, and it is cheaper.


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