Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Softwares for Digital Photography...

So, now you're thinking about buying a digital camera. Hmmmm. Have you thought of additional costs? Like more hard disk capacity on your PC, cost of a printer and lastly editing software?

Well, considering costs of hard drives having come down drastically, the first is usually not too much of a problem. Maybe your hard drive was getting full anyway. And as far as a printer goes, you can always have it printed from the neighbourhood print shop. But the biggest cost (besides these two) is getting a good photo editing software. And if you're not earning in Saudi Riyals, practically any of the top end softwares is going to cost you a pretty bundle.

The other cost which is hidden and people don't calculate up-front is the time you've got to be online just to upload the snap to your mail or your favourite website to be viewed by others. And for the others to stay online to download those huge snaps!

Well, there are a few softwares I've come across and have been using for some time which goes a long, long way in relieving these woes.

First, to view the snaps and to be able to do some minor editing, resizing and chopping, the best, the absolute best, software is called 'Irfanview'. Besides opening photos in practically any format, it's amazingly small and quick. The size of the file is just 803 KB, but the number of features it has is quite impressive.

By the way, if all that you want to do is resize your snaps and nothing more, the best is provided by Microsoft itself! It's Called 'Image Resizer', all you have to do is right-click on an image and choose what size you want to save in!

Now, that you're able to see what you've shot with your camera you want to do some major editing! You want to be able to put your snap in front of the Taj Mahal although you've never been there! Or you want to remove your mother-in-law from that wonderful snap of the two of you! Then you need that absolutely top quality software tool which only something like Adobe Photoshop can provide. But instead of keeping that niggardly guilt of having to get a pirated copy, you can use this wonderful software called GIMP. I am absolutely floored by this software. Besides being way more user-friendly than Adobe can ever wish to be, it's absolutely a pleasure to use. (Let me warn you though, while you're working on your snap, you'll have this DOS like window running at the back which shows what is happening. Don't panic though, just ignore it. It goes away when you close GIMP). GIMP requires that you have something called a 'GIMP runtime' on your computer, so here's a link to PCWorld's download site where it clearly puts these two downloads in sequence.

And finally, once you've made your modifications using Gimp and scaled your snap down to a manageable size using Irfanview or Microsoft Image Resizer, you want to upload your snaps. Of course, you can use Yahoo photos. But it is quite a problem to upload snaps one by one. So have a look at Photosite. This PhotoSite AlbumBuilder software allows you to add photos to your album, design your album layout, it's colours, it's fonts, practically everything! And once you're done, only then do you have to upload. So, you don't have to spend an unnecessarily long time online uploading snaps. The AlbumBuilder will take care of practically everything!

The other advantage of Photosite is that you get your own web address to which you can direct others too. Also, shared albums can be password protected so that it needn't be publicly shared. Also, you initially see only the scaled down pictures instead of the full sized ones.

The only catch that I can see with PhotoSite is that the free option allows you a maximum of 150 photos.

Here's the complete list of softwares I use...


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