These Lights Shine So Bright
Earlier we wrote about DIY professional photography using your smartphone. Once you’ve taken some pretty good shots, it’s a good idea to edit or adjust them a bit to really give them that pop you need to stand out. This post goes over some of the editing tools you can use to get your product photos up to scratch.
You’ve got two options. Edit photos yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. It’s sometimes hard to know if a particular software or service is actually worth the money - especially since there’s a tonne you can do with free tools these days. The decision will basically be based on how complex you need your editing to be. If you are taking good photos and simply want some cropping, contrast and sharpness adjustments or blemish removers, you can usually get away with using free software. If you’re looking to massively change your colouring, make high-definition changes or add layers with other photos and logos, you might need more robust tools.
Free apps and software
We love free things and if you’re learning how to edit photos, you’ll probably want to start out with some free apps. For the most part, there are tons of photo editing softwares that are free for limited features, and then cost you monthly to unlock premium features. We’ve put those further down, but here are some that are truly free.
This is a downloadable software that is definitely one of the better free ones out there. We like it because, unlike most other free software, you can do way more than edit individual photos or design. You can edit photos in batches, convert photos from RAW, and make gifs in addition to all of their photo and collage tools.
This one’s a pretty popular free online tool that you can get to with any internet connection in your browser or download to your desktop (making it run faster and offline). SumoPaint has all your basics photo editing tools, plus lots of features from Paint. This means you can add text, shapes and layers onto any canvas or photo, allowing you to make posters and logos for free.
This is another really good free software. One of our favourite features is the HDR setting, where you can combine three photos of the same thing with different exposures, and it will adjust the lighting tones to add incredibly high definition.
This is an editing tool you can use on your phone. If you snap a photo and want to post it immediately, Aviary gives you better editing features than built-in ones or Instagram will. Plus it’s free!
Paid apps and software
The mother of all photo editors, the one editor to rule them all, etc. Photoshop was one of the original editing softwares and is still a huge success. Along with their organising software, Lightroom, Photoshop has some of the most powerful tools out there and is used by professionals everywhere. Thing is, it does take a while to truly master. If you’re used to photo editing, definitely consider it. If you want something a bit simpler, maybe hold back for now. It’s also pretty pricey, at about $70 a month for businesses.
Fiverr - get someone else to do it
You know you want a smart, professional and well-edited photo but you’re just not comfortable doing it yourself. That’s totally fine - people spend years learning how to be excellent editors just so you don’t have to. Fiverr lets you pay freelancers, yup, $5 for a ton of different small services. There are plenty out there who are willing to edit a photo or two for a few bucks, which could end up saving you money (and definitely time).
This one has a few free features, but really most of their useful stuff comes with a monthly or annual subscription. Without a subscription you can do the basics like cropping, exposure, sharpness and colour adjustments, but they have a lot of other features you can unlock with plus like layering with logos and watermarks, adding dozens of easy lighting and colour adjustments and some pretty powerful artification effects. We like it because for beginners, there are a lot of tools you can use without really knowing what they are, and for more advanced editors it has most of the features you’re used to with more powerful software but is way cheaper at under $3 a month for an annual membership. Another upside is that you don’t have to download anything, and can use it from any computer. The downside? It is a little slow to load, so things can take a while.
This has been one of my personal favourites for a few years, because it’s stunningly easy to use, has powerful editing features that are packaged for newbies to just click on, (and it’s a bit funny). Like BeFunky, it’s entirely online so you can use it from anywhere. One advantage it has over similar software is that you can also use it for storage and organising, plus share your edits instantly on social media if you want.
Another advantage is that you can use PicMonkey not just for photo editing but for lots of different design and collage purposes. You can make flyers and posters, banners or other announcements using the same drag-and-drop software. PicMonkey is free for some features, and premium plans cost AUD $12 monthly or half price at $72 for the year.
PhotoShop has made a powerful app for your phone or tablet that you can get from the App Store or Android Market. It’s not as fully-featured as the desktop version, obviously, but it makes it pretty easy to get great photos while you’re on the go.
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