You can change the way your DSLR makes JPEG's.
Make them as vivid as you like.
With Nikon it's called "picture control" not sure about other brands.
If you do want to shoot raw, then Lightroom is definitely the best program to start with.
Maybe add Photoshop later on if you want to do heavy editing.
Darktable is the best free alternative, but it's not as good and doesn't run on Windows only OSX and GNU+Linux.