One key to taking really great photos (at least digitally) is to edit them afterward. The industry standard for this is probably photoshop, but the software is expensive and somewhat hard to learn. There are some other programs out there that let you do a little bit of editing (picassa, picnik, etc) but they really don’t stack up when compared to photoshop.
I downloaded a trial copy of Adobe Lightroom yesterday to give it a test run, and I’m in love. It doesn’t really do anything that photoshop doesn’t do, per se, but it just puts all of those tweaks in a convenient and easy to use package. I think that it would be really great for someone who doesn’t want to shell out for photoshop but still wants to have some professional-level editing capabilities.
(don’t worry, it doesn’t make all of your photos this washed out, it was just an effect I was playing with)
It’s pretty easy to use, it’s a lot of fun to play around with and the price is right (especially if you know a student). Student copies go for just $99 and for everyone else it’s $299. I know that seems like a lot of money, but your pictures will thank you. You download a trial here and see if you like it.
What software do you use to edit your photos?