Image editors usually strip out information stored by your camera RAW files, reducing your ability to make future and better edits and variations on your work. This is why non-destructive editing is critical for digital photography.
If your digital camera takes pictures in RAW format (and its variations), it collects a lot of information from camera sensors, as well as information about the camera itself. This information, as well as a much greater amount of color information (and other aspects of your photo) gets stripped out when you save the image to a new format. Once its gone, its gone - and it cannot come back.
What About On-Camera Editing Instead of Photo Correction Software?
Your digital camera may also include on-camera editing. It may also store that editing information separately from the RAW file. That's not to be ignored - at least in theory, nobody understands the camera better than the maker.
The camera maker may also be able to improve that over time, by updating the camera's firmware (you are updating your camera firmware, right?). But a tiny camera screen is no substitute for a large, high resolution monitor.
Unrecognized features, flaws and peculiarities of each camera can also be updated more easily in software running on your computer.
Why Not Use an Image Editor Instead of Photo Correction Software?
A key benefit to photo correction software like SILKYPIX(r) is that no RAW files are harmed in the process of working with them. While image editors like Adobe Photoshop(r) offer different features like layers and masks, either they are destructive or use inefficient workaround methods to attempt to maintain as much information as they can. Some of these methods result in extremely large files that try to store large amounts of version or edit history information or something similar.
Image editors usually make changes in a linear fashion - you make one change after the other, and those changes change pixels. That's why versioning is linear and edit history is used. You usually cannot simply change a parameter at any point and expect that aspect of your image to be restored - like you can with photo correction software.
Photo correction software like SILKYPIX store changes separately from the original RAW file.This makes it possible to save your parameters in a way that you can apply them to other photos easily - either one at a time or saving them as batch scripts. You can go back and change those changes, or simply throw them out and use the original only.
But are there any caveats to this approach? There can be.
Can I Use My Photo Correction Software When I Need it?
The one caveat to Photo Non Destructive Editing is that different software products store their change data differently.
Apple Aperture stores its information in its library, and that information is not understandable by other products; since Apple has discontinued Aperture, the library information you spent so much time on developing for your photos will disappear as Aperture becomes incompatible with future releases of Mac OS X.
Adobe Lightroom also stores its information in a non-destructive way, like SILKYPIX does. However under the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription model, availability and compatibility of Adobe Lightroom may be determined by keeping your subscription up to date.
Summary: The Benefits of Non Destructive Editing
- You can always go back to the original
- Save space with saved parameters, profiles and tastes
- You can always go back and modify saved parameters
- You can turn saved parameters into batch scripts