I think baby boomers are developing a greater interest in improving, preserving, and sharing photographs. I know that I am. These include older family photos that may be in print form as well as more contemporary digital photos. The photos we inherit from older family members often need enhancing. So do the sometimes lousy digital photos that we take ourselves.
There is a lot of powerful photo editing software out there. Some of it is expensive. Increasingly, a lot of it is free. That is what I want to write about here. I like free stuff. Who doesn’t?
Free Photo Editing Software
That being said, these are the free software packages that I am familiar with that do a decent job of photo editing:
GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a free, user supported program that can be used for photo retouching as well as general image creation. Thus, it has features similar to a basic paint program and an expert photo retouching program, almost to the level of Adobe Elements. There is a learning curve but once you master it, it is quite powerful. It can also convert image files from one format to another.
This is Google’s program for photo organization, album creation and storage, and a moderate amount of editing tools. It is very easy to use.
Here is a video introduction to Picasa:
For video editing, try ZS4. It works on PC’s and Macs.
Free Online Photo Editing Tools
I like these free online editing tools even more because there is nothing to install. As long as you have access to a web browser, you are good to go.
Pixlr is actually two tools in one place. There is Photo Express for basic photo editing and an Image Editor for advance photo and image editing and image creation. Very easy to use.
Picnik is an online photo editor that has basic features (e.g., cropping and red-eye removal), advanced features (e.g., exposure control), and “fun” features (filters that simulate different papers). Some of the more advanced features require a paid membership.
MorphThing is for funny stuff only because it allows you to upload and merge two different photos (e.g., portraits) into a single photo.
Fun Photo Box inserts a photo that you upload into another photo. For example, you can insert a photo of your face into a movie scene, on a billboard or to the side of a building. Funny stuff.
LoonaPix is similar to Fun Photo Box. Even better, you can place a head shot on the body of a celebrity. You can also put decorative frames around your photos.
Photovisi is an online site specially designed for creating photo collages. You choose a collage layout then upload your photos. It’s great for making your own desktop wallpaper.
Big Huge Labs is a site with numerous online photo tools, mostly for making fun stuff: adding special effects and frames to your photos and creating mosaics, movie posters and jigsaw puzzles.
Tilt Shift Maker is quite unique. It does one thing: ilt-shift photos without expensive lenses. In a tilt-shift photo, only one section is in focus. The other parts are blurry. This can create an illusion that the subject in focus is a miniature. If you look at the examples on the site, you will understand.
I hope you find some of these useful. If you are aware of any other high quality (and free) photo editing software or online tools, please let me know in a comment.