When you work in any sort of communications discipline, even public relations, having a handle on visual media software is always useful. Even if you aren’t always working with it, images are a form of communication just like any other; it also always helps to be able to spruce up an image or make a design that’ll wow your project supervisor!
Of course, knowing is half the battle. There are a lot of different visual media software out there, and they all vary pretty heavily in a lot of ways. Of course, you could always just grab a free copy of Paint.net if you just want the absolute basics for absolutely free. If you want something more advanced, you’ll need to know a little bit about the two big choices. Those choices are InDesign and Photoshop.
Photoshop is the image editing software. Remember when I mentioned Paint.net before? Photoshop probably has more then double the image editing functionality that Paint.net does. There is a very good reason that we use “to photoshop” as a shorthand for any sort of image editing.
The one major issue is the price. Photoshop is a subscription based service, and with a pretty hefty price tag along with it. If your company isn’t willing to pay for you, you’ll need to pay out of pocket and burn a pretty consistent hole into your wallet.
In the same way Photoshop is the image editing software, InDesign is the graphic design software. It has every functionality needed to make designs that are image edits but certainly look pretty.
The only other real competitor I could name for InDesign is Canva, and even then I’d still recommend InDesign for just being much more of a professional tool for that sort of thing and having far more options. InDesign is also an adobe software with a hefty subscription price, but it’s far more useful for certain applications and you’ll get a lot more use out of it for certain communications disciplines.
If you work in public relations like I do, InDesign will be a lot more relevant. You won’t need image editing software nearly as much as you’ll need some graphic design software to make a report for a supervisor or an announcement for the official social media page look professional and clean. In a communications career, transforming something from black text on blank white can definitely make a world of difference.