If you have a camera that shoots RAW, it’s crucial to use the right software to make the most of those RAW files.
Switching to RAW is like finding the fifth gear for your camera, pushing its performance in low light and teasing out magnificent colours that were previously hidden from view.
Once upon a time, everyone would have agreed that Photoshop was the only photo editing software worth investing in, but since that time things have changed.
While Photoshop is still the most powerful program there is at what it does, there are plenty of alternatives that offer more creative inspiration than what Adobe can offer.
The main editor includes a Quick mode for applying off-the-shelf effects, plus a Guided mode that provides a bit more control and includes dozens of tutorials and templates such as for cleaning up photos and panorama stitching.
Over in Expert mode, you’ll find the bulk of the tools that appear in the full version of Photoshop CC, including masks and adjustment layers, sophisticated selection tools and the Liquify warping effect, all wrapped up in an interface that looks more inviting and homely.
It includes advanced text formatting options normally reserved for DTP software.
It can work with massive images beyond Elements’ 900 megapixel limit, all the way up to 90 gigapixels.
Its Organizer module keeps track of all your photos and videos, sorting them by date, location, recognised faces and various other criteria.Buying a year’s subscription from Amazon costs £100, saving £21 compared to buying direct from Adobe.That’s about twice the price of paying for yearly updates to the latest version of Photoshop Elements. Features such as clipping paths, 16-bit colour and full CMYK support mean it’s able to slot into professional workflows.Image editors vary greatly in complexity and cost, and also in the tasks they cover.We’ve picked out the best editors on the market, so choosing the right one for you boils down to what you want to do with it.If you don’t want to compromise, the combination of Photoshop CC and Lightroom — in the form of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan — is well worth the £120 annual subscription fee.Price when reviewed: £49 - Serif has a strong track record for creative software but it started again from scratch for the new Affinity Photo.Its Live Filters go further than Photoshop CC, applying blur and distortion effects non-destructively so they can be tweaked or removed later on.CMYK support is included for preparing files for professional printing.It costs £49 and in some ways is more powerful than Photoshop CC.Photoshop Elements leads the way for home users with its friendly, results-oriented interface backed up by some seriously powerful editing tools.