Photo editing for free with these great software programmes
It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional photographer or a newbie taking snaps with a compact, every image can be improved with a little thoughtful editing.
The industry standard has always been the Adobe products, Photoshop and Lightroom, but they’re both expensive and may seem like a luxury to the casual photographer. Fortunately, there are some excellent free programs available that do a great job. Let’s take a look.
If we had a pound for every occasion someone asked us for an alternative to Photoshop and we replied, “Gimp!” we’d be sunning ourselves on a beach instead of selling canvases
! Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but Gimp has been around for a long time and just gets better and better. There’s a steep learning curve (just like Photoshop), but it’s fully-featured, fast and fairly stable, and has a vast repository of add-ons available. For the cash conscious photographer there’s nothing better.
Google Nik Collection
For over a decade Nik produced a range of plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom that became essential for pros and amateurs alike. When Google bought Nik out in 2012 we waited in anticipation to see what they would do with the brand, but nobody expected this: Google gave away seven of Nik’s best tools for free in a single collection!
Don’t worry though, every one of these plugins function as standalone programmes, so there’s no need to invest in Photoshop. Featuring film filters, countless colour effects, HDR and the best mono conversion software around in Silver Efex Pro, downloading this collection is a no-brainer.
Microsoft’s original Paint program that comes as part of any Windows OS is nothing more than a toy for your kids to play with, whereas Paint.Net can be used for real photo editing. Okay, it’s not as fully-featured as Gimp or the Nik collection, but it’s incredibly stable and offers the basic features you’re most likely to use. Featuring important tools like Layers and a Clone Stamp, Paint’s interface is simple to use and produces great results.
These three programs will give you all the tools you need to touch-up and edit your latest snaps, but they’re not the only freebies available. Both PhotoScape and Sumo Paint are worth a look too because they’re both capable of producing excellent results. Don’t take our word for it, though; try them out and when you’re happy with your results use some of the cash you’ve saved to send your images over to us where we’ll turn them into canvas prints