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Sunday, May 2, 2010

Free Photo Editing Software - What Features Should I Look For?

By: Susan Schlenger


There is lots of free photo editing software available. Many are excellent for most editing needs, and some even have advanced tools.



So, what are some of the things to look for when you are choosing a program to edit your photos with?Here some features that I feel are important.



Let's assume that most photo software today offers the basic editing tools, such as saturation, sharpen, brightness and contrast, hue, crop, and red eye removal. Other than these, more advanced features are a plus....if you are going to use them.



For example, there is something called Curves. This is a more advanced edit which allows you to control lightness, highlights and so on in the same editing tool. If you feel it would be advantageous to you, then that would be something to look for in photo editing software. However, there is no point looking for a tool such as this if you know it is not for you.



One feature that I find extremely useful is being able to look at your original photo and the one you are editing (a duplicate) on the same screen. This saves you the time of re-opening the original to see if you like the changes you made. Looking at both images together allows you to see if you have saturated too much, if the crop is acceptable, if it has become to light or too dark, etc.



Types of Sharpening



There are many different kinds of sharpening methods in photo software. Most free software offers simple sharpening. For example, Picasa 3 provides a slider with which you can increase or decrease the amount of sharpening. If you use Irfanview, you must click to sharpen the image, and then click again to sharpen it more. If you feel you need more sophisticated methods, you might consider paying for more advanced photo software.



So, Where Are Those Tools?



I always find it important for editing software to be user friendly. I don't know about you, but I hate to have to search for the tool I want to use. As far as I am concerned, I like it when they are easily found, not hidden away. Of course, if you use the software and particular tools regularly, you do get used to it.



Easy But Effecting Image Resizing



You should have options for resizing both the physical size and the file size of your image, and it should be easy to do so. Adjusting the physical size will change how you see the image on the screen (or in print), while changing the file size will make it smaller, making it faster to upload. It will also then take up less space on your computer. I like to have some choices and be able to see what the resized image looks like with various file sizes.



Can You View and Locate Your Images Easily?



Some editing programs are also great image viewers. For example, you might be able to change thumbnail sizes. Are there options for viewing your photo layouts? With some, you can edit in batches (such as re-sizing or changing image file extensions) or even sync with online web albums.



Can You Have It All For Free?



Probably not. However, the goal is to find free photo editing software that will do what is most important to you. Maybe batch editing is not something you would use. Or maybe you don't mind opening up the original image to compare to the edited one, if it's easy to do so.



It's not difficult to download a few and try them out. See which you like working with the best. After all...they are free.



Some that I recommend are Paint.net, FastStone Image Viewer, Irfanview, Web Resizer, and Picasa 3. I have written reviews of these programs on my website.


About the Author


Susan Schlenger is a professional landscape designer and has been working with digital photography online for 10 years. You can visit her website Digital Photos Online to read more about working with photos online. To read her reviews of some free editing software programs, visit her page, Photo Editing Programs.

(ArticlesBase SC #760167)


Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/ - Free Photo Editing Software - What Features Should I Look For?

1 comment:

Diane said...

There is an easy to use image editing online software available: “ReaConverter”, which is primarily intended for batch PDF to jpg and raw conversion. As a batch image converter and editor software, it offers all essential photo processing and image enhancements, the most helpful being re-size pictures, cropping, adjusting photo color, removing unwanted red-eye effect, applying artistic effects, watermarking, etc.Now I can make my pictures compatible.