Friday, November 19, 2010


There are many programs out there that provide tools to edit your pictures. Some come with your camera or  printer/scanner (HP and Canon, for example), and they are usually full-featured and easy to use; plus, you've already paid for them.

Then, there are the free-download combination photo editor/photo manager programs such as Picasa and Kodak EasyShare. These are also easy, and help you sort your collection into albums. The problem with the managers has been moving your albums to a new computer or hard drive - a gamble, at best.

The most basic way of managing your photos is through Windows itself, using Windows Explorer and creating your own folders, moving your pictures where you want. There's no third-party involved to put things where you can't find them.  You can connect your camera or phone or insert the memory card, then manually copy the pictures to your folders. That way, YOU know where you put them and that they are there. Be sure to back up your pictures. Three ways, if they're important to you.

Many good software programs provide tools to edit your pictures - crop, resize, remove red eye and tweak colors, brightness and contrast. The gold-standard is Adobe Photoshop - but at $699 it's probably overkill for most of us. The more basic Adobe Photoshop Elements is also excellent, and at $80 it's easier to justify. However - here are two really good open-source programs that do just about everything the big ones do.

The GIMP - (the GNU Image Manipulation Program). Free to download and use under the open-source philosophy; donations gladly accepted but not required. Find out more here, including the download link:

Paint.NET - Another free open-source product, equally as powerful, maybe a bit easier to learn. Find it here:

Install some of these programs and try them out. Ultimately, find the one you like best, learn it well, and get rid of the rest.

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