Sooner or later, most digital camera owners want to edit their photos. The browsing and photo editing program that comes with the camera is generally pretty basic.
While photo editing can be challenging, it is easier today than ever before to enhance and improve digital images. Image editing programs have become much more intuitive to use, even including effective one-touch fix tools. Some of the free and inexpensive image editing programs have features previously found only in those costing hundreds of dollars.
So if you want to move beyond basic photo editing, consider any of the popular programs listed below. Some are free; paid programs offer free trial periods.
There are dozens of photo editing programs available, we just happen to think that the programs mentioned below are worth a try… not only because they are good, but there is an abundance of online help available. To find out more about each product, read the accompanying review. Note that if you want to go further, there are some great training resources available from theknowledgeacademy.com.
Adobe Photoshop CS4 & Photoshop Elements
Photoshop is the gold standard image processor. A sophisticated, full featured editing program, Photoshop is the choice of professional photographers and graphic designers, and tenacious photo enthusiasts. But it’s high cost is beyond the reach of many. Fortunately, Adobe developed a little brother, Photoshop Elements.
Photoshop Elements, still available to purchase and download, has many of the features found in Photoshop. Its user interface is friendly to beginners, but not dumbed-down to the point of frustrating more experienced users. [Our review]
Update: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe CS has been replaced by Adobe Creative Cloud. For more information visit: http://www.adobe.com/creativecloud.html
Picasa photo editing software
Picasa – Google’s free image editing program offers a unique integration of desktop image organizing and editing software with online photo hosting. It offers a great set of easy-to use editing tools and you can upload images directly from your desktop to your free photo albums. The integrated package is had to beat. [Our review]
Picasa for Mac – Finally, there is a Picasa for Mac computer users. According to Google, “Picasa for Mac has been designed to play nicely with iPhoto.” [Our review]
PhotoFiltre is a free image retouching program. It not a widely known but is certainly worth giving a try. It has some features found in commercial programs. While it doesn’t accept Photoshop Plug-ins, there are additional add-ons available for download that the PhotoFiltre web site.
PhotoFiltre has more than enough features and fun filters that casual photo editors will find useful. [Our review]
Picnik is a free online service that lets you edit photos directly from any browser. It has many tools and features found in full-fledged image editing programs. [Our review]
Related reading: Basic photo editing steps