Capturing a great photo is like capturing lightning in a bottle. You don't get a second chance at it so you better get it right the first time.
At least that's the way it used to be. Thanks to digital photo editors, you can fix little mistakes and turn ho-hum pictures into fantastic photos.
The programs listed here range from user-friendly to advanced. They're all free, so you can find the right one for you. Here we go:
Paint.net was originally created as a free replacement for Microsoft's Paint. Like Paint, Paint.net is really easy to use, and it's extremely useful.
It lets you add text, paint, patterns, shapes and gradients to any photograph. It also includes tons of features that let you sharpen, blur or remove grain and noise. But the best part about Paint.net is that if you mess up, you can revert back to your original photo.
Tip within a tip: These free programs may inspire you to take up photography as a hobby. After editing, you don't want to lose image quality when printing your photos out. Our sponsor, Epson, offers a wide range of printers, including the brand new EcoTanks. These printers use tanks instead of cartridges so you won't waste a drop of ink when you print. Click here to learn more about Epson's high-quality printers today.
GIMP was designed as a free alternative to Photoshop. In case you don't know, Photoshop is a powerful and expensive photo-editing tool that's widely used by professional photographers.
GIMP can do almost anything Photoshop can do including adding layers, filters and more. It can save files in Photoshop's PSD format. Plus, it's open-source software, which means it's being updated and improved all the time.
RawTherapee is a free, full-featured RAW editor that lets you do the same things as pricey programs such as Adobe Lightroom. You should double check to make sure that your camera's file formats are supported by RawTherapee and that you download the correct version of the software.
If you have a DSLR camera, you may be taking photos in a RAW file format. These are sometimes called "digital negatives" because they contain the unprocessed data from the image sensor of a camera.
These files have more detail and a wider dynamic range. You can also edit white balance and exposure after you've taken a photo. But you'll need special software to view them and to edit them.
Luminance HDR was designed to create high dynamic range photos from multiple photos of one image taken at different exposures. You'll be able to tone map (adjust colors), rotate, resize and much more.
Film captures a wider range of luminance than most digital devices. You can achieve that same look for digital photos using HDR imaging found on some cameras, or photo-editing software like Luminance HDR.
Fotor is a free download for PCs, Macs and smartphones that can turn basic snapshots into colorful masterpieces. It just takes a few clicks and there's hardly any learning curve. You can add effects to any photo, create brilliant collages or customize photo cards for the holidays.
Note: Now that you know how to create stunning images with these photo editing programs, you're going to want to display your creations throughout your home. The easiest way to give your photos the attention they deserve is to print them out. Our sponsor, Epson, offers a wide range of printers, including the brand new EcoTanks. These printers use tanks instead of cartridges so you won't waste a drop of ink when you print. Click here to learn more, and start saving on ink today.