Editing Photos for the Rest of Us

Before the digital age, photo editing was an arcane process, only performed by experts. It required exposure to chemicals, expert timing, and a lot of care. Now, however, you can use a computer program to easily produce effects that were a lot of work when 35mm film was the standard. There are a lot of different programs to choose from, for every price range and skill level. This article aims to talk about just a few.

In the arena of free photo imaging software, popular options are GIMP, Serif PhotoPlus, Paint.NET, Pixia, and ImageForge. All of these programs are available to the user legally and free of charge. However, some freeware programs are older or cut-down versions of software that’s available for a price, so they may have limited functionality. Others are fully functional, and released under a GPL, or General Public License.

These programs, like GIMP, are volunteer-coded and supported, so there could be unexpected bugs or strange program behaviors. However, if you want a functional editor to help you modify and improve your digital images, but can’t afford to buy a higher end program, these freeware programs are a great place to start.

In the arena of pay photo imaging software, there’s a wide range – from programs meant to satisfy the home or occasional user, to high-end professional ones like Adobe Photoshop. At a retail price of $649, this is a bit pricier than most individuals can afford. However, Photoshop is well known for being the cutting edge of photo manipulation technology, so if you need its functions, it’s worth the cost.

For the rest of us, there are programs like Photoshop Elements, the scaled down version of Adobe’s premier photoeditor, which retails at a much more affordable $99, PhotoImpact, Digital Image Suite, PhotoPlus, Paintshop Pro, and Picture It! Ranging between around $20 and around $100, all these programs offer digital camera support, can import images from a scanner, and feature important tools. You can use photo imaging software to crop, resize, and rotate your photos, remove red eye, correct over exposure and under exposure, changing lighting and coloration, and even remove or add elements.

There’s a photo imaging program for every user. Whether you’re a professional who needs to work on photos and other images on a daily basis, or just a home user with some snapshots that need work, you’ll have no problem accomplishing what you set out to do. Today, it seems inconceivable that photo imaging used to require so much expertise and so many chemicals. Now, simple photo manipulation is available with just the click of your mouse.