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Ever since Steve Jobs slapped a camera onto the iPhone, everyone has become a budding photographer The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners The Top 5 Photography Tips For Absolute Beginners Fueled by a desire to take better photos, last year I got myself a nice DSLR for Christmas. I'm certainly no photography expert - but I did take the time learn a few tips I... Read More . Before, you had to buy a roll of film and carefully take your shots (so you didn’t waste any), then take it to the shop to be developed (which would take days). Fast forward to today, when you can just snap away to your heart’s content, delete the ones you want, and not have to wait to see your creations.

But just because you have a camera, it doesn’t necessarily follow that you are automatically a great photographer. Any half-wit can point and press a button. While some photos are works of art, others need some editing — or a LOT of editing — and I’m not just talking about slapping on an Instagram filter Meet Instagram's Five New Filters (And Learn What They Are Best For) Meet Instagram's Five New Filters (And Learn What They Are Best For) Photography social network Instagram has issued a new update, which brings five new filters, the ability to reorder the filters, and thumbnail previews. Instagram is releasing new filters for the first time in two years. Read More . What you need is a good image editing app 10 Free Photo Editor Tools To Make The Most Of Your Shots 10 Free Photo Editor Tools To Make The Most Of Your Shots Whatever happened to all the snapshots you've taken in the past? If you've got plans and ideas, here are some great Windows and some cross platform tools to process them with. Read More .

Oh, what a coincidence. I’ve found 10 for you!

Picasa

As usual, when it comes to name recognition, Google leads the way with their Picasa service Picasa - Still The Best & Most Versatile Photo Manager Available Picasa - Still The Best & Most Versatile Photo Manager Available How many photos would you say you have? More than a hundred? Six hundred? A thousand? Pictures are a big part of all of our lives, but there is else something which is equally important... Read More . Their Web Albums service is now merged with Google Plus Picasa Web Albums Destined For The Trashcan As Google+ Muscles In Picasa Web Albums Destined For The Trashcan As Google+ Muscles In Google is diverting all traffic from Picasa Web Albums to the Photos section on Google+. Google is still allowing access to Picasa Web Albums for the time being, so you can move your photos out. Read More , but the desktop software lives on for the moment. Although Google hasn’t said anything about discontinuing it anytime soon, if their little brother has now been lumped into Google Plus, then it doesn’t bode well for big brother’s future survival prospects.

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What I really like about Picasa, apart from the usual image editing tools, is being able to easily measure photos and fit them onto an A4 page to see the actual size. Borders are also easy to apply and size, as well as direct sharing in Gmail, adding a watermark 13 Easy & Free Ways to Watermark Photos 13 Easy & Free Ways to Watermark Photos Have you ever needed or wanted to mark an image as yours to prevent others from duplicating it and/or claiming it as their own? You might already know that this is called watermarking. The process... Read More , and if you have to, apply a silly Instagram-style filter.

IrfanView

Just like Picasa, Irfanview is an oldie View, Resize, & Manipulate Image Files With Classic Utility IrfanView [Windows] View, Resize, & Manipulate Image Files With Classic Utility IrfanView [Windows] We all work with image files, all the time; be they graphics for the Web, corporate images for work, or just holiday snaps. These days there are more digital images than ever before. Windows comes... Read More  but also a firm favorite among my journalistic friends and colleagues. I personally use SnagIt, but since SnagIt costs $50 many people who don’t need to do a lot of image editing can make do with Irfanview which is completely free. Plus you could argue that Irfanview offers heaps more features than SnagIt.

Which makes me ask myself: Why the hell did I pay $50 for SnagIt? Temporary insanity?

The top feature that I like is batch conversions. You can rename a huge number of files in seconds, as well as resize them. That alone makes it my best friend. You can also scan directly from a flatbed scanner, make screenshots, set a wallpaper, and install plugins to extend the features even more.

SnagIt

Even though they are surrounded by free rivals, TechSmith seem to think that SnagIt is worth $50. (I was utterly mad — can I get a refund?) But in its defense, the screenshots are 100% perfect, and the program has never failed me once in five years. One thing that does tick me off though is that once you buy it, you are not entitled to free upgrades. An upgrade costs $25!

The current version is tightly integrated with all other TechSmith products, such as Camtasia and Jing How To Take A Better Screenshot Image With Jing (Mac) How To Take A Better Screenshot Image With Jing (Mac) Read More . You can also upload to Google Drive and Microsoft Office, record your screen, and edit your screencast by trimming out the parts you don’t need. Blur sensitive details, highlight important parts, and annotate the screenshot.

They also have a mobile app called Fuse for Android and iOS, which sends all of your mobile photos directly to the SnagIt editor.

FastStone

At first glance, you would be forgiven for thinking that this was Windows Explorer, as it does bear some similarity with its yellow folder tree-like structure. However, this image editing app boasts some impressive features, and once again, it’s completely gratis.

As well as covering all of the usual image formats, FastStone also covers a wide range of RAW image formats from all of the major camera manufacturers. You can then crop and resize your images, as well as apply the usual filters (red-eye removal, color adjustments), flatbed scanner support, ability to edit EXIF data, batch processing to rename and resize quickly, a portable version, and a huge amount more.

Paint.NET

The venerable Paint.NET seems to be the crowd-pleaser, being installed on pretty much everyone’s PC. Starting life as a Microsoft product, it is now being compared to Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Photo Editor, and GIMP. It prides itself on being “immediately intuitive and quickly learnable”, making this an ideal candidate for newbies.

Images open in their own individual tabs and you have an unlimited history, so you can undo and redo image alterations as much as you want (disk space permitting). You also have Photoshop-like tools such as the Magic Wand feature, the Clone Stamp feature, and layers.

And if you get stuck, you just need to consult the forum where someone will probably be glad to help out.

GIMP

GIMP is a popular program for anyone wanting to have Photoshop-like features but with a slightly easier learning curve. (Check out our GIMP walkthrough and tips GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone's Favorite Open Source Image Editor GIMP: A Quick Walkthrough Of Everyone's Favorite Open Source Image Editor Read More .) But unlike Photoshop, GIMP is free of charge and open source. It is also cross-platform and comes with a portable version that you can throw on your USB stick.

It is also an ancient program — nearly 20 years old but shows no sign of slowing down or aging.

What is really great about GIMP, though, is the army of plugins and scripts which make it better and more useful. From the GIMP extensions pack for Windows, to 3D screenshots, to turning photos into comic book images. There’s a huge amount to choose from.

Photos for Mac

Photos is the new photo viewing and editing app A Cleaner, Faster iPhoto: Upgrade to Photos for OS X Yosemite A Cleaner, Faster iPhoto: Upgrade to Photos for OS X Yosemite Photos for OS X has finally arrived, replacing iPhoto with an image management application that Mac users will actually want to use — but is there enough here to satisfy Aperture refugees? Read More for OS X and comes free with the Yosemite operating system. If you are still using Mavericks, then you will be stuck on the previous incarnation, iPhoto (which is also a very good photo editor How to Resize Images Using iPhoto, Photos or Preview on Mac How to Resize Images Using iPhoto, Photos or Preview on Mac Your Mac can resize images for you using built-in software, free of charge! Read More ). Both are backed up by iCloud Photo Library, meaning that your photo collections are available on all your OS X and iOS devices.

You can connect your camera to have your photos imported, drag a photo directly into Photos with your mouse, and also take advantage of the editing and sharing options. One click enhances the colors of the photo and then you can share it via the following means :

Photoscape

PhotoScape is another photo editor which relies on the Windows Explorer design. Rather than look tired and boring, it gives some users a sense of familiarity.

PhotoScape offers a GIF maker, where you string up several photos to make a final one. You can also print passport photos, lined, graphed and music paper, and online face recognition Top 5 Ways You Are Spied On Every Day And Don't Know It Top 5 Ways You Are Spied On Every Day And Don't Know It The chances are you're oblivious to the ways in which you're being monitored almost daily as you go about your business. Learn how to take precautions to protect yourself against these surveillance threats. Read More . There is also a version of Photoscape for OS X if the before-mentioned Photos fails to take your fancy.

XnView MP

XnView MP supports over 500 file formats, with all the usual suspects (JPG, PNG, GIF) as well as some lesser-known ones such as Amiga IFF, Amstrad CPC, and Kodak RAW. Cross-platform for Windows, OS X, and Linux, you can also do batch conversion tasks and use the program under various translated languages.

Ratings, color labels, and categories ensure that your photos remain completely organized. The OCD in you will applaud at such tidiness and precision.

Zoner Photo Studio

Zoner has a free edition and a paid edition. When you download it for the first time, you are immediately put on one month of Pro. After the 30 days are up, if you choose not to pay for Pro, then you are switched to the free version.

The Pro version costs a staggering $89. At that price point, you would have to be head-over-heels in love with it to justify a purchase. After all, the professional Lightroom 6 is just a little more at $149.

Zoner has extras such as photo frames and templates, a script to view PS and EPS files, and several extras for RAW file formats. Other features include camera photo imports, batch renaming, batch re-organizing, 50 different editing tools, and more.

So which photo editor do you use to make your snaps sparkle? Or do you think, in the era of cloud editors Don't Install An Image Editor: Try These Cloud-Based Photo Editors Instead Don't Install An Image Editor: Try These Cloud-Based Photo Editors Instead If you want to get really good results, you need to download some kind of graphics software or other editing app, and put it through its paces. But now, you can do most of your... Read More , that the desktop editors are entering the realms of computing history?

Image Credit: Sanitaryum

  1. Bert
    November 16, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    None of you mentioned Lightzone (as you guessed) aLightroom clone.
    Also free of charge.

  2. Linda Hudson
    September 28, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Thanks for sharing the post. I must agree that online picture editing tools are one of the best ways for creating stunning artwork in no time. I have used many like, Picasa, Photo pos pro, Pixlr etc. I must say they all are really great.

  3. uzo
    February 29, 2016 at 8:15 am

    please which ones are good and easy for just food blogging

  4. Jennifer
    November 24, 2015 at 9:37 am

    Hello I'm a newbe photographer, have just done a Formal or Prom for a young lady, happy with most of my pics, but some need a bit of work , I'm not real savvy on the computer ???? Can anybody recommend one for a dummy ha ha

  5. Atropix
    May 20, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    YesssS.at!Free Studio on Windows 10 ; )

  6. Henry Marx
    April 26, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    No pixler or picmonkey?
    Two free and capable programs

  7. steveb
    April 26, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Give Polarr - https://www.polarr.co/ - a try. Very similar to Lightroom, handles RAW and is FREE !

  8. Bob
    April 26, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Photofiltre is also quite easy to use and without all the whistles and bells

    http://www.photofiltre-studio.com/

  9. Roman
    April 26, 2015 at 3:05 am

    I like Pixlr - https://pixlr.com/desktop

  10. PinkUnicorn
    April 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Mark, have you tried PicPick? I use the portable version and it is awesome. I use IrfanView as my default image viewer.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 26, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      Hi there - no, I haven't tried it. But if there is a portable version, then I am in love with it right away :-)

      I will take a look. Thanks for your recommendation :-)

  11. Ignacio Curiel
    April 25, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Cyberlink's PhotoDirector 6 is fun and stable, and has lots of downloadable presets for retouching your photos.
    Looks like Zoner, PhotoDirector, and Corel's AfterShot are all Lightroom's clones. They do all much of the same, and have almost the same GUI layout.
    I like these kinds of applications because you get a lot of power to make your photos more interesting, but don't have all that huge toolbox that are included in say, Gimp or Photoshop which are geared toward image creators. Having all those tools make me feel a little confused and overwhelmed, so I feel a little more at home whit less tools but equal power.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Interesting. I will take a look. Thanks for your recommendation :-)

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