What program do you use and why? Is it a free program?
I use three programss
1. Pentax Photo Laboratory, which is a proprietary program that came with my Pentax DSLR
2. Photoshop Elements 7- Fairly inexpensive on Ebay.
Both of those programs have exceptional capabilities but they have a long learning curve to become comfortable with them.
I also have "Photoscape" which is a free download that works very well with general editing and corrections. There is only one slight fluke in this program. It will not read single photos directly from your computer "My Pictures". You must first put the photos in a file, then read the file in photoscape but that is not really a problem because it is easy to set up a new file in "My pictures" then drag and drop the individual photos into the file.
In fact, I find myself primarily using Photoscape because it is easy and I only resort to the Pentax or Photoshop program when I need to do more advanced editing or corrections.
Irfanview is very good for basic edits...resizing, cropping, etc. Picasa has some basic editing also. Both are free online.
Ahh, man. I really dont care for photo editing program. Soem people turn into graphic artist rather than learning to take good pictures.
IF I want to adjust levels of any sort, I use Photoshop Lightroom
I used photoshop and paintshop I also took a free online course in both program I have added filters to both programs I also like makeing birthday card for my children with the picture I have taken with my camera they also enjoy them I have not brought a birthday card in years
I use Irfanview alot with quite a few added plugins, some free (Xero Graphics, Filter Forge,Virtual Photograher by Optik Verve)some paid for (such as TopazLabs plugins, some compatible PS plugins) something a little beyond basic editing...The only thing I don't like about it is it doesn't keep your EXIF data when you save RAW to JPG's.
As mentioned above-Photoscape is a nice Free little program, it recognizes raw files but when you bring them up in photoscape they are small...Most of the time I shoot jpg, but have been doing alot of raw's lately...
Paint.net is another free-doesn't recognize raw files-I use that to clone out any dust from the sensor if it shows up or some small thing...I'm not that great otherwise for heavy duty into editing-like layers, cuts, so on...it does have that capability...
I do have Capture NX that came with the Nikon I bought a few years ago...If the pics are shot in raw and I want to save the exif-I'll open with Irfanview as my viewer-then choose open with NX. that saves the exif when saved...I don't care for the viewer of NX-seems cumbersome for me-thats why I like Irfanview as my viewer...
I know this an older post-When I started photography it took me awhile to understand everything on what to get or to buy..So I hope this was helpful.