Most of us have a digital camera these days. Many cell phones have a built in camera. After taking the pictures your first challenge is to get the photos out of the camera and into your computer. If you are running an older Windows OS you may need to install a driver that came with the device. A modern OS will automatically recognize the camera as a mass storage device (MSD) and will open the camera as a folder from which you can drag and drop your photos.
Assuming you have met this challenge and the photos now live happily somewhere on your drive, you will delete the really crappy ones and probably wish you could fix some that are not quite right. Perhaps a little dark, a little crooked, off center or who knows what. For this you need a photo editor. Cameras sometimes come with some editing software that you may like, but in my experience this software is usually not very capable. Furthermore it is usually Windows only and Mac and Linux users must look elsewhere. In this post I will give you a short list of software that will allow you to touch up your photos before printing or uploading.
Adobe Photoshop CS (Creative Suite)
This is an expensive (around $6oo) tool for professionals. If you are such a person then you already know this and this article is not for you. I include it because I am always amused by the hacker who has downloaded an illegal copy and brags that he/she has the best there is. It is certainly not the best for the casual user and his camera purchased at Wal-Mart.
Originally, the Linux equivalent of Photoshop, The GIMP has now been ported to Windows. Like most Linux software it is freeware. Go to GimPhoto for details and downloads for Windows and Linux. At the price ($0) it will you the feel of a high end program. Find Photoshop tutorials on the web and you should have little trouble applying them to GimPhoto.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Call this Photoshop’s little brother. It’s a dumbed down version of Adobe’s flagship product with fewer features and less capability but more than enough to keep the ameteur photographer happy. Adobe prices it at around $100. Currently it’s at version 7, but look for version 2 if you have a Linux machine. On my machine the help system had a problem but the photo editing worked well. When I was webmaster for a real estate company I used this program often to remove unwanted objects like trees and auto bumpers from property photos.
Serif software offers a free version of PhotoPlus6. This is a very capable photo editor. An upgrade to version 8 is available for just a few dollars. It runs on Windows and might run on Linux but that is untested. It will perform all the basic editing functions plus some advanced ones like “cloning.” Again, at the price, you should definitely download and try this software.
I consider this as a “must have” program for any Windows user. Irfanview is often called the Swiss Army Knife for photo editing. Irfanview can crop, resize, apply effects and do most of the things one would expect in a higher end tool. It’s easy to use and it’s free. Most of the time it will be the only tool you need. Some have gotten it to work with Linux although I have not (yet).
While not an editing tool, this free goodie from Google is a fine way to keep your photos organized. Google has released versions for all three platforms, Windows, Mac and Linux.
Did you find this article useful? My PayPal tip jar is at
Don dot Birdsall at gmail dot com