I personally use Paintshop Pro XI for image editing. I organize my pictures with Picasa. I try to keep it fairly simple and low-cost.
I read a lot and get quite tired of seeing so much emphasis on Photoshop. I’ll try and stay positive but after trying Photoshop and Photoshop Elements I found them difficult to use and way too expensive. I’ll date myself…but remember the stranglehold Lotus 1-2-3 had on spreadsheet software? I’m hoping Photoshop goes the same way and that photographers realize that they can create wonderful images using software that’s free or that costs $100 or less. By the way, GIMP, or the GNU Image Manipulation Program is a free download and is quite powerful.
I don’t play a lot with my digital images and approached it from the same viewpoint when I worked in a traditional wet darkroom. I guess if the picture is there that’s enough. I’ve seen way to many mundane, bad images “Photoshopped” to death and turned into “art”.
Most of the time I sharpen, re-size, correct and balance color and use curves to get to my final print. I do calibrate my monitor with an $89 Pantone Huey and download and use the Epson printer profiles for my Epson 2400. I print almost exclusively on Epson Archival Matte and have been working a little with Velvet Fine Art paper as well.
I’m making these comments to point out that options are available and to emphasize that simplicity has it’s place in a highly technical field. Sometimes as photographers we like to brag about how difficult, time-consuming and expensive a shoot was. I’ve been learning that the opposite generates good results for me, and it may for you, too. Hey…take a bunch of pictures without looking through the view-finder the next time you’re out with your camera. The image above is an example.