Just as you need to have cameras and lenses and lighting to shoot a photograph, you need darkroom equipment to develop it. Although at one time that sentence would have meant that you would need chemicals and an actual dark room, what it means for the digital photographer is that you need the electronic and software equivalents.
Your computer needs to be able to do the job, you need the correct type of software, and you need a good understanding of how to work with the actual photograph files that come from your camera. If you're shooting in RAW, for example, you need to know how to prepare your files for basic image editing.
The most popular image editing software is made by Adobe Systems (
www.adobe.com) and is called Photoshop. It comes in two versions: a high-end version intended for professional photographers and graphic designers, and a consumer version marketed to the casual user. The full-featured version is very expensive but includes a level of functionality that many professionals cannot live without, such as the ability to automate common tasks. The consumer version, known as Photoshop Elements, retains roughly 80 percent of the functionality of the professional version while selling at 20 percent of its cost (around $100).
When I mention "Elements," I'm referring to Adobe Photoshop Elements. When I mention the ...