On the Lightroom side, photographers can create presets — or use third-party presets — to quickly apply a certain style or look to images. Using presets is a quick and easy way to create a universal, repeatable look for your photos without having to spend time tweaking each image.
Dabble in plug-ins
Plug-ins offer even more options for creative photographers by supplying specialized adjustments and improving the speed of your workflow. Granted, most of these add-ons will put a minor — sometimes major — dent in your budget, but they can help you create a signature look or add a creative touch to images.
For example, while most applications offer a method of converting color images to black and white, manufacturers of specialized plug-ins often go to extraordinary lengths to simulate black and white film looks that can be applied — and tweaked — by using their plug-ins. Like actions and presets, plug-ins can be a real time saver while providing detailed personalization. Earlier versions of iPhoto offer limited plug-in support, while apps like Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop have a much more expansive library of third-party plug-ins to choose from.
Moving on up
If and when you're ready to step up from iPhoto to an advanced piece of software, it's worth downloading a free trial of the apps you're interested in to see which best meets your growing needs. Don't be afraid to look for help if you're initially overwhelmed, as advanced programs tend to have a steeper learning curve than basic apps like iPhoto. But if you want to move forward, it's well worth the extra time to learn the ins and outs.
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