Regardless of the method you use to obtain photos whether you shoot them yourself or purchase them you will most likely need photo editing tools at some point in the development of your online business and social media marketing campaigns. You may simply need to crop a free stock photo or remove a red-eye or create an interesting filter to add uniqueness to the photo.
You will also at some point need to re-size a photo. I am sure you have noticed that different social media networks have different size requirements for their profile pictures, header images and background images. Word Press and Gravatar requirements have different picture and image size criteria as well.
This article is designed to help you select the right photo editing tool for you and your needs.
Free Photo Editing Tools
I always encourage everyone to seek out the free options first before purchasing any photo editing tools. There are plenty of free photo editing tools out there which you should first try before investing in a paid editing tool. In this training, I will first cover the free editing tools and then go into some of the more popular and easy to use paid photo editing tools.
Depending on your own needs, you may need to upgrade to a paid editing tool. In the next two pages, I will go over the different free editing tools for both Mac users and PC users. I, myself, am a PC user so if I do not cover the Mac user section as thoroughly as I should, please feel free to mention as such in the comments below.
Mac Editing Options
Most Macs come supplied with free photo editing software. On the Mac, I have seen the preview application with basic photo-editing functions. From the preview, you can crop, rotate and flip photos as well as adjust color and size. It can quickly meet your needs for basic adjustment.
In addition to the preview edits, the iPhoto editing option is included on most Macs. The iPhoto software allows users to fix red-eye and to rotate, add effects, straightened, enhance, crop, and retouch images. It includes most of the editing capabilities you need.
PC Editing Options
You have two options on a PC computer. First, most PCs come with the standard Paint program, which enables you to make basic edits to images, such as resizing, cropping and adding text. MicroSoft also has the Live Photo Gallery application, available for free as part of the download in the Live Essentials software package. Personally, I believe the photo editing capabilities of Live Photo Gallery are much more robust than in Paint. As an example, Live Photo Gallery allows you to adjust for red-eye and for noise reduction, color exposure, tint and saturation.
Additional Free Photo Editing Software
In addition to the free tools that come supplied with computers, a number of other free tools are out there. If you have time and are interested in branching out, spend some a little time becoming familiar with different tools and choose the one that works best for you and suits your needs and desires.
Here are a few of the popular free photo-editing applications:
Picasa is Google’s photo sharing and editing application. The biggest benefit of using this one is that it easily connects to other Google applications, such as Google+ which will make sharing easier. Picasas, in my opinion is free and simple to use allowing you to painlessly edit and organize your images and it can be used on your computer or online.
Foto is another free photo editing tool, but the catch is many of the images will come with a watermark on them unless you purchase the upgrade which ranges from $2.68 to $4.99 per month paid annually. You can create images for your Facebook cover, YouTube Cover, Google+ cover or a social media post. I created a new Facebook cover for my personal Facebook page which you can check out. I used one that did not have a watermark on it.
One of the advantages GIMP is that it can work across different operating systems. This application has the same functionality as many high-end professional and expensive systems, but it is free to use. That being said, I installed it on my computer a while ago and although I have spent many hours trying to learn it, I still am not comfortable with it, so there is a huge learning curve with this product.
Paid Editing Tools
As you probably already guessed, the number one paid photo-editing software is PhotoShop by Adobe. It’s the photo-editing tool of choice of most professionals. The big challenge is that it is more difficult to learn. GIMP has some similar difficult features to learn as does PhotoShop, in my opinion. The advantage of free photo-editing tools is that they are simpler and more intuitive to use.
On the other hand, PhotoShop can truly pay off for you, once you learn it. With PhotoShop you can manipulate and edit photos dramatically. You can edit and otherwise correct photos down to the pixel. No free photo-editing software will provide you with that capability. PhotoShop is not a program to take lightly, because it is one of the most expensive applications to use, but if you want the best and most popular program, PhotoShop is the one for you.
One alternative to purchasing PhotoShop, is the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan which consists of Photoshop CC plus Lightroom for $9.99 per month. It is sold by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. and you get both the mobile and the web version for that price. Currently, however, this product is only available to customers within the United States. Plus, you will have access to an extensive library of tutorials to help you get up-to-speed and master new photo editing skills.
As an alternative to PhotoShop, you can get PhotoShop Elements which is a lighter version of PhotoShop. I used PhotoShop Elements for a long time and I found it much easier to use and costs only a fraction of the price of the full, more professionally designed version of PhotoShop.
Let’s Hear From You
You may also want to read my article on Comparison of Screencast Software as I provide brief reviews of many different programs to include FREE and the expensive Adobe products. There are other paid photo-editing software out there such as Corel Paint Shop Pro. You probably are aware of other programs out there on the market and I would love to hear from you regarding your recommendations and experiences. Please comment below and let me know your experiences.