The wonders and horrors of post-processing

Post-processing your photos is actually just editing them. If you’re on Instagram, you know what it’s like: Select the photo, choose an oddly-named filter, maybe tune up the contrast to bring out your eyes, and you’re done. But there’s actually a lot more to it than that.

To post-process a photo is to fine-tune it to your liking, or just make sure everything in the photo is balanced if it is not already. It makes your images look professional, or it can be a life saver if there’s a little splotch in the photo and you don’t want it there. I’ve used it in many ways- to crop out a little blade of grass, to make the image look sharp, or to give it that bright and cheery feel. Post-processing has saved me from so many boring, underexposed photos that don’t look right, and I’m sure it has for you, too.

Of course, there are so many to choose from, which one do you pick?

Pear treeSince I don’t really like to spend money when I can save it, I’ve never dabbled into things like Photoshop – although part of that is probably because the only computer I own is a Chromebook. But there are free quality alternatives to this, including web-based ones and full-fledged software. My favorite one is Polarr, which is free on the App Store, the Play store, and the Chrome Web store, as well as their version for Mac and Windows. Polarr does not let you do things like select one color in an image or heal, but instead it filters images, give them a distorted effect, and other things like that. The only catch is that you can buy a pro version for $20, and some good features like batch export (save multiple images at a time) are only available through it.

Another one I like is Pixlr Express/Touch Up, which is web-based (Touch Up is a Chrome app version) by Autodesk, and it was a good starter for me. I still use it for that “splash” effect – where the photo is black and white except for one object – but otherwise, I use Polarr now. I like the fact that it’s chock-full of features, including filters, overlays, borders, text, splash, heal, and more. Of course, the web version (Express) has ads, so that’s annoying. But Touch Up is really good! It also comes as an iPhone app and an Android app – both free. I still use the mobile app, and rarely the desktop one.

Now I’ve talked about the benefits of post-processing and two of my favorite editors. But what about the problems?

Chickadee looking in birdhouse BWThe thing I hate most about post-processing is the fact that almost all web-based services and mobile apps will compress your images horribly. (Thanks for being a bro and not doing that, Polarr.) This is especially bad for someone like me who loves the quality of his camera and hates to see his images in such poor quality. This is also why I hate cropping. Another bad one is the fact that if your computer isn’t super fast, dedicated software can be slow as a snail to upload your photos.

In my opinion, the advantages outweigh the problems, so I’m going to keep on using photo editors. As for you – I’ll let you decide that yourself. Even though you’ll probably still use them anyway.