What I learned in my Digital Photography class, part 11
I see it all the time in photos--the photo isn't sharp, the horizon line is tilted, or there is too much extraneous "stuff" in the background. As our instructor constantly pointed out to us, you should strive to shoot the photo correctly from the beginning. Always.
And for those times when your photos need a little help, there is editing! Of course, whole books have been written on special effects that you can do with your photos, but if you just learn a bit about straightening and cropping photos, your results will improve dramatically.
We used iPhoto (great software that comes already loaded on Mac computers) in our class, and that is what we have at home, too. I have also used Photoshop on our old computer.
In addition to these software packages that you can purchase, you should know that there is also an open-source, no-cost version of photo editing software available to you, called Gimp. It's a little tricky to figure out, but it's free!
Another online freebie is Picnik, which has all kinds of fun effects that you can play with. Check out Picasa (free photo editing software from Google), or Paint (for Windows).
Whichever one you choose, make yourself aware of all the types of edits that you can make. Here is a list of what iPhoto can do:
Photo information (The camera provides the title, date and time taken, type of file, and size; you can add your rating, keywords, and description)
Compare two similar photos so you can choose which one to keep
Effects (Black & white, sepia, antique, fade color, boost color, matte, vignette, edge blur)
Adjust (Exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, saturation, temperature, tint, sharpness, and noise reduction)
Remember, you can always duplicate your original and just play around with the duplicate until it looks just the way you want it to.