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I frequently write about free photo editing tools like Picture Colorizer; a tool that automatically colorizes your old photos. But what happens if you need more than that?

Then it may be time to upgrade to a paid photo editing tool.

An increasing number of people use their iOS or Android device to take pictures instead of a camera. Phones come in cheap and you can easily carry them in your pockets. Besides, manufacturers are always adding new features to their phones to help you take wonderful photos. As a result, we’re all flooded with great photos (and even more not-so-great ones).

Of course, this poses a dilemma. Do you download your photos to your computer, edit them, and share them on social media? Or should you make changes to your photos by using third-party photo editing software on the phone itself?

If you’re an old-timer like me who prefers a computer screen for photo editing, there are plenty of professional photo editor apps and programs that have great features and can turn your normal photos into extraordinary ones.

However, since mainstream software such as Photoshop requires a lot of time and practice, casual users often prefer third-party apps such as Photo Effect, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. This third-party software provides you with some basic photo filters and presets that you can use to edit your image before sharing it online.

But first, why do you even need post-processing software?

Why Is Post-Processing Software Necessary?

Whether for our personal social media or during book promos, we all use photo editing software to enhance our images. The goal, of course, is garnering good reviews and book sales. These tools help you grow your authoring business by granting you the ability to create alluring and engaging photos for your viewers.

You can find below various ideas on how to make your photos look amazing. First of all, Photo Effects; a popular, yet relatively unknown photo editing tool.

Overview of Photo Effects

Photo Effects | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Priced at a very reasonable $29.95 and with both a Windows and a Mac version available, VertexShare’s Photo Effects lets you easily adjust the tone, saturation, and contrast of your images. Furthermore, it has a smooth interface with all the necessary features in one place.

Photo Effects is an easy-to-use application that can run on both Win and Mac platforms. Unlike the filters found in most similar apps, which apply the same formula of contrast and image noise to every image, Photo Effects lets you create your custom filters and enhance every picture to your liking. 

Photo Effects Benefits

Photo Effects is a pretty fluid software that includes all the features you normally need. Its features include:

  • Tone mapping: this is a remarkable built-in tool that lets you add more details to your HDR images
  • Shadow lighting: this feature utilizes AI to automatically enhance your images
  • Exposure: this option has several sub-levels including brightness, saturation, and contrast as well as sharpness to further enhance your photo.
  • Sharpness: you can use this to enhance your pictures, making them clearer

The software is ideal for beginners because it is so easy to use. Everything is well organized and you can easily find the tool you need to change your images.

You can create impressive effects within moments of installing it using nothing but the inbuilt preset effects. Or you can use simple sliders to play around and create your own customized effects, seeing the results instantly.

Photo Effects has an edge over other photo editing applications in that it brings the best of both worlds to the users. Other features include:

  • Create and edit stunning photos quickly.
  • Enhance your photographs like a pro by using inbuilt presets.
  • You can make good use of advanced algorithms to easily improve under/overexposed images.
  • If you are a complete novice in photo editing, you can still use this app with ease.
  • It processes photos of great size at lightning-fast speeds.

You can also adjust the tone and colors from a simple panel that includes the best features in one place. Once you finish editing your image, you can instantly save it and upload it to your desired platform.

Photo Effects is a perfect tool for anyone wishing for a user-friendly yet powerful tool. However, it lacks the advanced abilities of heavy-duty, professional software like Photoshop.

How to use Photo Effects

Keep in mind that your computer/laptop should be fast enough to run this application smoothly. The steps to use this software are as follows:

  1. Go to the official website of Photo effects.
  2. There are download options for both Windows and Mac users.
  3. After downloading the application, open it and import whatever pictures you want to enhance.
  4. After importing the pictures, you can use various features and sub-features, including:
  • Exposure: This feature lets you adjust the photo exposure with various functions such as lightness, contrast, and saturation.
  • Shadows and Saturations: This feature lets you change the highlights, shadows, and tonal widths of the image.
  • Smart-DRC Method: This method helps in dynamic range compression and other cool tech-savvy features.
  • Sharpness and Noise Reduction: These features visually enhance the image to make it more transparent and higher resolution.
  1. When you feel satisfied with the pictures, click on export and save the images to finish. If you want to export this image to another application directly, you can click on the export icon at the bottom right corner of the screen.

Use Adobe Photoshop to make amazing photos

We all know Adobe’s Photoshop, right? Personally, I avoid it because of the steep price—starting at €25/month—and even steeper learning curve, that I have somehow never quite managed to master. However, many swear by it. Photoshop is probably the most powerful photo-enhancing tool in the market. It has just the right effects and tools that you need to make your captured photographs flawless.

After installing Photoshop, you can start tweaking and messing around with your photos. Photoshop includes various effects such as shimmer, glitch, RDB, vividness, black and white effect, etc.

Use PicMonkey to edit your photos

Another popular tool is PicMonkey. PicMonkey lets you add effects to your photos and create banners, logos, Ads for Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and many more.

PicMonkey comes with a monthly charge that starts at €10.99 but offers a 7-day trial to try out its features. The software includes templates, hundreds of photo editing tools, and several effects to enhance your photos.

PaintShop Pro

One of my favorite photo editors, PaintShop Pro has (almost) all of the power of Photoshop but comes at a much more reasonable price and is far easier to learn. Since Corel bought the software, they have developed it into a unique amalgam of vector and bitmap editing that meets all of my more advanced needs.

PaintShop Pro is priced at a €55 one-off price but optional annual upgrades require you to pay an additional €40.

PaintShop Pro | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books
PaintShop Pro comes with advanced editing tools that let you make the most of your photos

Lunapic & Online-image-editor

If you’d rather use a free online photo editor, here are two more ideas for you: Lunapic and Online Image Editor.

Lunapic

Lunapic | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

Lunapic is an online photo editor that provides several effects. While it’s fairly basic, it’s also very easy to use:

  1. Upload a picture by clicking the “Add a picture” button.
  2. Go to the Effects or Filters tab. You will see all the possible effects and filters you can have a try.
  3. Export your image

Yes, it’s that easy to use but you may have to play around a bit with the parameters to get the desired result.

Online Image Editor

online image editor | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

As for Online Image Editor, this is another online tool that provides photo editing functions. The emphasis here is not so much on effects but on basic editing, including Resize, Crop, Add Text, Color Change, Border, Round Corners, Photo Frames, Image in Text, and Add Frame. Having said that, the Color change tab provides you with several basic filleters like Sharpen, Normalise, Sophia, Grayed, B&W, Equalize, and Invert. 

Conclusion

To sum up, there are hundreds of programs and apps to help you change your photos and turn them into a flawless masterpiece. Here’s the lowdown on the ones I’ve checked out in this post:

  • If you’re looking for raw power, Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed photo editing champion. However, it’s hard to master and pretty pricey.
  • Picmonkey is cheaper than Photoshop and comes with an emphasis on social media. Its templates help you design your images for Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube in seconds.
  • PaintShop Pro is cheaper than the other two and doesn’t come with a monthly subscription. It is almost as powerful as Photoshop and far easier to learn.
  • The combination of Lunapic and Online-image-editor can cover most of your needs, and is free. However, it may require plenty of going back and forth to achieve the desired effect.
  • Finally, Photo Effects is perfect for beginners and comes at a great price. It gives you all the tools you’ll need 99% of the time and has a friendly interface that’s easy to master within minutes.

So, whether you are using the software to enhance your book presentation photos or to create book promo material and book covers, happy image editing—and happy writing!