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Post processing, also known as post production or editing, is a vital part of the workflow of creatives and refers to everything which goes on after you have taken the actual photo or shot the video. The entire endeavor of post processing is highly subjective and so it’s hard to pin down specific rules or guidelines that must be followed but with the incredible capabilities of modern software, no matter what you’re trying to achieve you will be able to with a little patience and perseverance!
Modern tech and software developments have made the entire post processing far easier, cheaper and more accessible for all photographers and videographers, whether they are hobbyists on a budget or high flying professionals.
There are now a wide range of world class post processing applications which you can use, for free, on a subscription basis or by buying the software outright.
Top 3 Post Processing Applications for Photography.
This is one of the most trusted photo editors out there and has a nice simple user interface that is intuitive and easy to get a handle on. It’s perfect for people who are just learning how to edit and enhance their photography but it’s fantastic capabilities mean that it is more than suitable for professionals as well.
The Lightroom workspace makes it very convenient to manage your files and arrange your tasks with quick access to your entire library of images; and with the keyword search you can instantly pull up what you’re looking for. It also has a central panel with all your editing tools right there which really does make this one of the most intuitive programs to work with.
Lightroom also has a very helpful tutorial option that will literally walk you through the various aspects of the software which means that even if you’ve never edited photos before you can get started straight away. Ideal for working with all kinds of photography, from portraits to real estate, landscapes to street photography, this has got to be one of the best pieces of software available.
Top Features of Adobe Lightroom:
- Fully customizable panels and sliders.
- Automatic facial detection to help with your organization.
- Convenient brush and gradient adjustment capabilities.
- Tools for fixing blurs.
- Lens based corrections.
- Wide range of preset filters that are perfect for freelancers and professionals.
- Extremely intuitive interface – ideal for beginners.
- Available on multiple operating systems.
- Great preset packages on the preset marketplace that you can instantly apply to your photos to get a flawless result in no time – ideal for batch editing photos.
- Very competitive price of $9.99 per month.
- Create your own individual editing suite – by using the preset market you can expand your own tailored package to suit your specific requirements.
- Integrated software that works with WordPress – ideal for bloggers and freelancers of all kinds.
One of the fastest growing editing tools out there, Skylum Luminar has burst onto the scene and is being taken up by hobbyists and professional photographers alike. Unlike much of it’s competition it operates on a one time fee basis, instead of a subscription, so once you’ve paid it’s yours for life!
With a great selection of built in tools it’s a powerful editor that can operate on it’s own but can also be used as an additional plug-in to other editors including Lightroom, Photoshop and Apple Photos.
The interface is easy to master and the organizational functions are pretty good as well. It’s range of preset options on the workspace are more extensive than other editors such as Lightroom, which are each designed for specific types of editing. This makes it a valuable piece of software if you’re still finding your feet in the editing suite.
The presets include settings such as ‘Professional’, ‘Aerial Photography’, ‘Quick & Awesome’, ‘Essentials’ and ‘Street’ among many others. By using these presets you can learn a lot about the basics of editing different genres of photography, skills you can take with you and use elsewhere.
You can also create your own workspace and save the tools that you tend to use the most often. This is very handy for batch editing because it means that if you’ve found a formula that is working you can quickly repeat it, helping to streamline your workflow!
Top Features of Skylum Luminar:
- AI slider tool which will automatically fix photos, including toning, brightening and other basic adjustments.
- Unique filters that include ‘Sunrays’ – that adds rays of sunlight to a photo – and Orton – used in Lord of the Rings which blurs out part of the image.
- Easily adjust multiple layers of an image.
- Specially designed presets for drone photography.
- Easy to use tools.
- Great organization and convenient image library.
- One off payment instead of subscription service, with prices starting at just $89.
- Works for PC and Mac.
Probably the most versatile editor on the planet, Photoshop is a powerful image editor but also handles illustrations and other graphics very well. It’s one of the freelancers favorites and has served them, in its various incarnations, for many years now.
This highly capable tool is extremely competent however its user interface is not the easiest to navigate and use unless you get some tuition! Luckily, there’s tons of free tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere online so you can quickly get up to speed after a bit of study!
There are a huge amount of tools on Photoshop which is partly why beginners find it a bit daunting; and so, it’s probably a better choice for a slightly more experienced photo editor. That said, it’s incredible what you can actually accomplish using the software and the results certainly speak for themselves.
It also has preset tools for all the essential photo editing functions as well as 3D images and graphics. You can also create your own personalized toolbars which is very useful if you’re working with batches of photos.
Top Features of Photoshop:
- Sophisticated retouching, layering and masking tools that are probably the best on the market.
- Massive range of brushes and filters.
- Amazing multi-layered editing tools that help to deliver unbeatable results.
- Powerful 3D tools.
- Professional editing tools that are suitable for all working professionals and freelancers.
- Multi-purpose software that covers all your photography needs as well as graphic design and illustrations.
- Incredible color editing tools and functionality.
- Very competitive price for a full package of $9.99 per month on a subscription basis.
- Unique editing tools that you won’t find anywhere else.
- The special Adobe Photography Plan allows you to get both Photoshop and Lightroom for just $9.99 a month!
Top 3 Post Processing Applications for Videography.
Available on Mac, Windows and Linux, Lightworks is a fantastic free video editing program that is perfect to get you started. It’s a very powerful editor that has a massive selection of features and editing tools.
Top Features of Lightworks:
- The free Lightworks software has high precision trimming tools so you can cut your clips together with seamless accuracy.
- Supports multiple cameras.
- Easy to export your videos straight to YouTube in a 720p format.
- The software supports a broad range of video formats.
- The free version of Lightworks does not support 4K videos for either Vimeo or YouTube which might be a problem for some editors however you can upgrade the software with a subscription of just $25 per month.
- Lightworks has extremely useful and easy to follow tutorial videos that can guide you through every stage of the video editing process so you can make use of the many features and tools available, even on the free version.
- For most video editors, especially if you’re doing basic edits and cuts, the free software is more than enough to get the job done but if you’re doing higher level, more complex editing projects then the paid version might be necessary.
Available on Mac, Windows and Linux, Shotcut is a fantastic all round video editor that is probably the most powerful free to use software available. Unlike most other free software packages, Shotcut supports 4K video and is a completely open source program.
Once you download the software you immediately have access to all the features without ever needing to upgrade to a paid plan! Shotcut also has some excellent tutorial videos that will walk you through the basics and for this reason, and the fact that it’s free, it’s one of the best choices for beginners and hobbyists.
Shotcut has a slightly quirky interface that might take a little while to get used to but this is probably because it’s based on open source Linux programing, however, that said, other users absolutely love the interface!
Overall it’s a top quality editor and at the price of totally free you can hardly do better! Another unusual feature is that you don’t actually need to import your videos into Shotcut to modify them which can save quite a lot of time if you’re working with large files.
Ideal for 4K and High Definition projects, Shotcut is the perfect way to get your feet wet in the world of video editing and since it’s free you’ve got nothing to lose!
Available for Mac, Windows and Linux, DaVinci Resolve is one of the most advanced and technologically capable video editors on the market. It has a superb range of professional level features and is operated with a very simple and highly intuitive user interface.
You can work with 2D, 3D and video formats using a wide range of tools, cutting options, fades and inserts. For many beginners the platform might be a little too advanced and you won’t get the full value from it but if you’re dedicated and willing to learn the tricks of the trade DaVinci Resolve can serve you well throughout.
With all the usual functionality that you’d expect, including smooth uploads, extensive video project options and advanced trimming you can produce incredible videos that will wow your audience.
Top Features of DaVinci Resolve:
- Second to none color correction tools.
- Refined trimming tools.
- Multicam editor.
- Superb audio remastering.
- Extremely intuitive interfaces that anyone can master.
- Free tutorials and in depth examinations of the available tools and functions.
- Perfect for advanced projects.
- Excellent full package available for one off payment of $299 which includes free upgrades for life!
Are There Applications That Can Do Both Video and Photo Editing?
Generally speaking, you’ll be better served by using specially designed software for your photo and video editing respectively. You’ll always get better functionality and more dedicated tools if you work with software that was designed for a specific purpose but there are applications that work for both.
A prime example of this is Adobe Premiere Pro. This is predominantly a video editing platform but you can upload photos and edit them using it. These photos can be incorporated into your videos but they can also be saved separately and exported as they are.
Post Processing Applications for Photography and Video – Your Personal Editing Suite.
If you’re working in photography or videography the chances are you work alone and need to be able to handle the entire process from photoshoot to delivering the product to your client. This means that you’ll have to be able to edit your work and deal with the post processing and so finding a reliable, effective and powerful application to work with is vital!
Most of the best editing software has a free version and a more advanced paid upgrade. This is fantastic because you can test out the user interfaces, learn your way around the program and see if you like the feel of it before you unlock the full capabilities of the software.
The truth is for many projects, particularly for more basic editing tasks, you really can make do with the free versions of the software. It’s incredible to think that a mere 10 years ago such free software would have been almost unthinkable and would have had an extremely prohibitive price tag; which means there’s never been a better time to dive into the world of post production editing.
Which application do you use for photo and video editing?