Saturday, October 18, 2008

New photo software: Paint Shop Pro Ultimate Photo X2

I am totally in love with this program!! It was on sale this week at Staples for $70 after mail-in rebate (regular $100). I'm long overdue for a semi-professional photo editing program, so I treated myself, thanks to a months' worth of personal money.

Why did I need a new, better program? First of all, while Picasa has some great features, I needed more control over my images. Secondly, I needed to be able to fix and then save my images as high-resolution images for printing purposes. Thirdly, I've been wanting to try my hand at digital scrapbooking to see if it's right for me, but I had no program that was compatible with the level of control I wanted.

After seeing this software on sale, I checked several reviews and found that it scored high marks for value and end results. I originally thought I'd buy Photoshop Elements the next time it went on sale, but some reviewers commented that this was even better than PSE.

Anyway, I was not disappointed - not one little bit! Check out two photos I've adjusted just last night to see why I'm so thrilled with this program. (Click on the photos to see them larger. The smaller size doesn't do them justice.)

First of all, this was my favorite smile of all the pictures I took of my son with his new cast on. However, the lighting was terrible, and so was the white balance. I originally thought I'd have to use another shot, but check out the end result of playing with Paint Shop Pro Photo x2:

What I did: adjusted the white balance (Color Balance), removed distractions in the background (Retouch and Restore - Object Remover) and removed digital "noise" (Digital Camera Noise Removal).

Here's another photo I took for artistic purposes, but it didn't turn out the way I had envisioned. Enter PSPPx2 ...

What I did: straightened the photo, added fill flash, removed digital "noise" and adjusted depth of field. The result: exactly the photo I had envisioned!

I'm excited about the possibilities of this software! I'm also excited about the fact that I can finally save my retouched .jpeg images in a large enough file size to develop online. [Save File - Options - Lossless Encoding] The end result is as large as, if not larger than, the original.

As if that were not enough, I got a call today about taking pictures for a January wedding. This was a referral from a friend who had me take her son's senior pictures. The bride can't afford the $5000 (!) price tag of the professionals in our area, so she wondered if I could do it. I'd love to!

I think I got my software just in time. :)


Fruitful Vine said...

Those pictures are really cute. Congratulations on the new software.