I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with photo editing tools. In the digital age it’s just too easy to take a junk photo and manipulate into a wannabe masterpiece. I’m not that way. Maybe it’s because I started shooting on film just before the digital explosion began. I’ve always wondered how photo retouching worked before the incorporation of the computer into the photography world. I also have operated under the belief that photo editing is a poor substitute for rock solid raw photography. When I add photos to my Facebook page, they are all unedited. What you see is what you get. On the other hand, I can understand the appeal and have used such editing tools to create photo based artwork, but it’s mostly for my own amusement. I play with them because I know whatever I create will not be considered my primary work. I try to avert common distortions when I initially compose a shot, and I’m slowly learning how to work with light so I don’t have to correct contrast after the fact. Simply put, I try to do all my corrective work with the basic functions of the camera and my physical photography skills. Yes, it sometimes involves contorting myself in odd positions, but if it gets the job done, I don’t really care.
That said, I’ve played with a few different types of software. I have yet to work with Photoshop and will not track down a pirated copy in order to have it. However, from what I’ve read around, Paint Shop Pro is pretty similar. I’ve worked extensively with Paint Shop Pro in the past. I actually didn’t like it at first, but I ended up buying it after going into photo withdrawal during the summer of 2007. It recently got uninstalled from my computer, and the disks went MIA in the midst of my two moves in two years. So I’m going to have to buy a new copy. I need it for making wedding invitations, anyway. It took some getting used to, and it might not be the best for the beginner. Even without a stylus I managed to do some interesting things with the program. Since I’ve been doing without for some time, I’ve been poking around Photobucket’s tools, which are designed for amateurs (at least in theory). I mostly just played with the effects, because I figured if I’m going to muck up a picture with digital manipulation, I’m going all the way. So have a few photos of the non-manipulated and manipulated variety.