Using a digital camera lets you make prints, send pictures to friends and family by e-mail, and store the images on your computer or on a disc. Photo-handling services are available, but if you learn to use the image-processing software that comes with your camera, you'll have the control over photos that film users envy.
This year, according to one bullish industry estimate, Americans will generate 5.4 billion prints from digital files. If true, that would be about one print in seven.
Taking those photos is the easy part. In order to do anything with the images--make prints, send them with e-mail, and so on--you must first download them to your computer. This report provides a brief guide to the software you'll likely use and the growing network of stores and web sites that can also handle your film or digital images.
IN THE DIGITAL DARKROOM
Digital cameras come with versatile imageprocessing software, such as Adobe Photo-Deluxe, MGI PhotoSuite, Microsoft Picture It, and Ulead PhotoImpact.
These packages excel at letting you touch up photos. There's often an instant-fix option to improve brightness and contrast or adjust the tint. An additional tool lets you fix red-eye in flash pictures.
You can also crop photos, put them in ovals and other distinctive shapes, or straighten images tilted off horizontal. You can create a mirror image or turn a photo upside-down. And you can reduce a photo's resolution, making the file small enough for an e-mail …