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Viewing Your Digital Photos

Viewing Your Digital Photos

Mark Comon (Vice President, Paul's Photo, Torrance, CA) gives expert video advice on: What software should I use to organize my photo?; What computer programs can I use to edit my photos?; What options do I have for printing my photos at home? and more...

What software should I use to organize my photo?

Well, it all depends on whether you're Windows or Mac. If you're a Mac person, your Mac probably came with iPhoto and that's a good place to start. If you want to do a better job downloading, I would do the Adobe Lightroom programme. It's an amazing programme with a lot of power. If you're a Windows person, you can use Windows Explorer to download, but I think you're better off using a more powerful programme like ACDC or BreezeBrowser that are dedicated downloading programmes that allow you to file, sort, categorize, and all those kinds of options. The Adobe Lightroom programme is an amazing program and what I like about it is it works for Windows or for Mac. You can share it on two different machines and, with any part of the computer the hardest part is learning software. So, if you've gotta learn software, learn one that you can take from camera to camera and from computer to computer. I never recommend using the Canon or Nikon or Olympus or whoever's software to download because every time you change cameras you need to change software. To me is a lot of wasted time in learning software that I know I am going to change shortly.

Why would I edit my photos?

Digital photographers who know anything about photography always edit their pictures on the computer, not in the camera. Why? In the camera you have a two, three, four-inch viewing screen, where on the computer, I have a 17, 19, 22-inch viewing screen. I get a lot better view on the computer, and I'm not in the field. In the field, I'm in the heat of battle. It's the baseball game, the birthday party, Christmas, whatever. I'm too busy making pictures. I edit my pictures at home. I've had an adult beverage, I'm sitting there with my feet up, and I get a chance to edit on the computer. The computer also gives me a lot of power that I don't have in the digital camera. When editing pictures in the camera, you really don't have a lot of choices. It's either yes or no, keep or delete. In the computer, I can lighten and darken the picture. I can crop, eliminating parts of the picture. The power of the computer in digital photography is amazing, and since you're looking at this on the Internet, you probably know the power of what the computer can really do for you.

What computer programs can I use to edit my photos?

To edit your pictures on the computer, the absolute best program is Adobe Photoshop, whether you spend five or six hundred dollars and buy the full version, or one hundred dollars and buy the Lite or Elements version of Photoshop.I recommend Adobe Photoshop for every digital photographer. There's a lot of other stuff by Microsoft, and JASC, and Corel and other people out there who make programs. Any digital photographer who's worth his salt is using the Adobe Photoshop family of products. That's where I recommend you go edit your pictures for a number of reasons. Number one, it's clearly the best. It may not be the cheapest, but it's the best. Secondly, it clearly has the most support. If you Google Adobe Photoshop help, you'll get a thousand responses and you can't even read all of them. If you try to get help on some of these other programs, you're pretty much on your own. I would highly recommend Adobe Photoshop for everybody who's serious about doing photo editing.

What options do I have for printing my photos at home?

If you want to print your photo yourself you're going to either use inkjet or pigment-jet technology. Pigment-jet: Epson, Canon, HP make pigment-jet printers that last between 1 and 2-years. Those are great prints, and that's what I recommend for digital photography for my home people. Otherwise, if you use inkjet, and that's what happens when you send your pictures to a lot of the online places is that you get inkjet technology--1 or 2-year life at the most on your prints. Take an inkjet print that you make at home or one of your friends makes, put it up in the living room, see how long it lasts. Maybe 18 months and the picture is all faded. What are you going to do with your kid's baby pictures or birthday pictures after 18 months and they're faded. That's not what you want.

Who can print my photos for me?

I have a camera store. We print a lot of pictures for people. I like it when people send me their prints. I know I can make a better print for you then you can at home, because we use top quality equipment, the best quality technology, and make a print that... It looks like a real photograph because it is a real photograph. It's not Inkjet, it's not anything. It's real photographic paper that's been developed. You get that by Emailing your picture or uploading your picture to a server that uses a lightjet process. Lightjet is the best. It is a half million dollar machine. You're not going to find that everywhere, only at certain places.

What printing options do photo labs offer?

We can make enlargements, we can crop for you, we can make posters, we can make books, we can make cups, we can make mugs. There are all kinds of cool stuff you can get at your camera store today that you can't get anywhere else. And we have a lot of fun and we can help you do it, and we make photography easy and exciting for you and make it simple so you can do it at home. If you go to any camera store website you'll generally find a thousand different options you can use when printing your pictures. You know friends of mine make blankets, they make jigsaw puzzles, calendars, mousepads. Anything you can imagine, we can generally put a picture on today. T-shirts, caps, you know, undershorts, I don't care, we can do it. If it's cloth, or plastic or metal, we can put a picture on it today. So if you want that, check out your local camera store and see what they can do to help you make the pictures into what you want them to be. And as time goes on, we're only going to get more options, and not less.