| By Katherine Murray |
Whether you prefer taking photos with your digital camera or the camera in your phone, downloadable tools can help you make your pictures pop.
If you don’t want to share lackluster photos, you can use some of these full-featured (and free!) photo-editing programs to spruce up your images.
Evaluating free tools to fix the subpar photo
We’re a shutterbug culture. And I love that. I take pictures (on my cell phone or my digital camera) of clouds, trees, grandkids, turtles, frogs, and just about every eye-catching leaf and flower I encounter. I also take pictures at family events, professional gatherings, and neighborhood shindigs. I’m part of a giant army of digital record keepers, happy every day to gather up experiences in photo form.
So what do we amateurs do with all these photos once we take them? Some show up on Facebook, some in family albums — and once in a while, you might get a really good one you want to frame.
Even if you’re a highly talented photographer (like my editor, Kathleen Atkins), chances are some pictures just aren’t up to your standards. In these days of almost chemical-free photography, most of us aren’t likely to drop our digital film off at some drugstore or processing lab. Our “darkroom” is now the PC sitting on our desk.
For image processing, I typically use freebie tools such as Windows Paint or Microsoft Office Picture Manager (which you’ll find in your Microsoft Office Tools folder) to fix strange color imbalances or crop out ghoulish figures. They generally work well, but I decided to check out other free tools that might work better for fixing my photographic faux pas. After a little research, I downloaded four image-editing tools: Picasa, GIMP, Photoscape, and Paint.net. I looked for the programs that had the best tool sets and which required the least amount of effort to repair my photos.