Love it loathe it I'm afraid software is a critical part of getting your images into competition. Even it you use it just to crop the perfect shot you took you have to venture into the realms of a piece of software. And just to make things harder not only does each piece of software have different settings, but often each new version of it is different to the last.
This is not a guide on how to use your software, there are plenty of those to be found online, but it may just answer a question or two about general terms and settings
Developed initially as an organisational tool to catalogue your photos it has fast become a leading processing tool and whilst it cannot perform the more advanced "doctoring" functions as Photoshop it has organisational features that can outperform most other photo editing software. Many pro photographers use Lightroom to do all their editing and use Photoshop a lot less.
By far the most powerful and comprehensive photo editing tool available. But the fact that this has been developed for industry means that this is not only expensive but often overwhelming to the novice. However you can achieve things in photoshop that it would be almost impossible to create with any other software.
Used as a "creative" aid to create and manipulate images rather than just minimally adjust settings.
Seen as the baby brother to Photoshop, Elements has grow up quite a lot since it's conception and now features most of the tools, effects and filters that "the keen amateur" wants to use but doesn't have the hugely complex settings that photoshop users can employ. A big advantage though is that it now replicates a lot of work achieved in photoshop but costs a lot less.
Developed by Apple at the same time Lightroom was developed it is almost a twin to Lightroom. As with the Canon/Nikon debate, one is or isn't better than the other - depending on your point of view.
5 years in the making, Affinity Photo redefines the boundaries for professional photo editing software for the Mac. With a meticulous focus on workflow it offers sophisticated tools for enhancing, editing and retouching your images in an incredibly intuitive interface, with all the power and performance you need.
There are moves to open this out to Windows but at the moment it is just available for the Mac.
Teaser Video and free 30 day trial can be found here
Workshop held on Tuesday 16th Feb 2016
Further to the evening we spent exploring our software here are the links to various software reviews.
Adobe Photoshop has been the grand daddy of the imaging world for years and its blend of tools make photo retouching, image creation from scratch and straight-up image editing the complete package for keen amateur photographers and professionals.
But although the cost of using Photoshop has come down, you have to pay a subscription for Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plan. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives that won't cost you a penny, and while they might not rival Photoshop for outright power, they bring simplicity, speed, convenience or one-click effects that you just don't get with Photoshop.
We start off with some of the more contemporary takes on digital imaging, but if you use Windows and you prefer a traditional, no-frills image editor, you'll find those on our list too.