Everyone likes their photos to looks as good as possible and while there is no question that while Adobe Photoshop is the best photo editing software available, it is very expensive and also quite difficult to learn. For most people at home, the extent to which they wish to edit their photos is to crop, resize them and correct the exposure. While free applications such as Microsoft Paint have been available in the past, there are now way more advanced free photo editing programs available for download.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source imaging program, available for both OSX and Windows, with a number of pro-level editing and retouching tools. It is the nearest to Photoshop of the free apps available online and perfect for people who don’t want to fork out loads of money to Adobe or go down the pirate route. The layout of the application is a dedicated window for the image with other windows containing the toolbox and layer arrangements. With the tools you can apply different effects to your images. There is extensive support online for the application and it is not rocket-science to learn to use. A good free alternative to Photoshop.
Available for both Windows and OSX, Picasa has a few basic editing tools for uncomplicated design such as cropping of images, adding a tinge of brightness or contrast. It has a wide variety of photo effects too, but is more of a slideshow creator and photo organiser. Owned by Google it lets you share your photos on your Google+ profile with features such as geotagging and face recognition.
A completely free photo editing application, Photoscape allows basic image editing with a selection of basic and more advanced tools for editing, enhancing, animating, combining, and printing your images. It can convert RAW images to JPEG from DLSR cameras and also allows you to create slideshows and animated GIFs. The features can organised with a customisable toolbar, so you can have your top features on display, while hiding the ones you hardly use. However there is a saying that nothing comes for “free” in this world. The price you pay for the free download of Photoscape is the ads run on the program for other recommended software.
Paint.net was developed originally as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint and has now usurped the original program offering far more features for photo-editing than the original, which really could only offer resizing capabilities. Paint.net supports layers, special effects and more features for a basic fix for photo editing. It is only available for Windows users.
Originally developed as an image viewer, the free Irfanview software allows you to edit and enhance your photographs, making it a possible tool in your designer’s toolkit. Available currently just on the Windows operating system, it allows your to edit photos, optimise them, create slideshows, batch process and a few more features that you don’t find in other basic photo editing software.
Do you have any programs that you feel are better than those we have listed? There are a wide variety of online photo editors available and apps for iOS, Android and Windows phone devices, such as Instagram available as well. What free solution works best for you? Let us know.