A lot of Pros use Adobe Photoshop for editing photos and you can find many articles and books on how to use photoshop to edit your photos. Photoshop has almost become synonymous to photo editing. However, the cost of Photoshop can be a deterrent for many people. Here we’ll review some of the cool free tools for photo editing.

Gimp

Gimp is a free photo editing tool very similar to photoshop in many features. It has many of the advance features photoshop offers like working with Layers. You can achieve almost everything with Gimp that you can with Photoshop. It’s possible to read Photoshop tutorials and follow the instructions while using Gimp. Even if you don’t feel like using the advanced features, it has some great pre-defined filters that let you create quick modifications to your photos like making them look like an oil painting, changing saturation or adding a border. Gimp is available for Windows, Mac or Linux for free – http://www.gimp.org/downloads/.

Here’s an example of a 5 min modification made to an image using the Oilify and Canvas filters -

Original Photography

After applying Oilify and Canvas filters in Gimp

pixlr

Pixlr is a web based tool for editing your images. It can edit photos uploaded from your PC or you can point it to the picture through it’s URL. It has three different tools - http://pixlr.com/editor/,  http://pixlr.com/express/ and http://pixlr.com/o-matic/.

The editor  is a lot like an online version of Gimp with a very similar interface. You can use the blur, burn and other such tools to delicately edit portions of your image. The express and o-matic are a lot like using Instagram. They let you quickly add borders, effects and overlays. Overlays can be textures like metal, canvas, cloth or lens flares and fireworks. You can also add a variety of borders from simple to funky. Effects are mainly edits to the pictures contrast and saturation togive the photos a vintage look to others. What is impressive about Pixlr is the large number of effects possible as part of their predefined library.

Original Photo

Quick Edits in Pixlr to give it a new texture and border

 

Pixlr Full Editor mode is similar to editing in Photoshop but a lot less powerful

Pixlr Express lets you do quick edits to enhance the picture to a large set of predefined styles similar to Instagram

 

Picasa

Picasa is great tool provided by Google. It’s one of the easiest tools for editing contrast, brightness and saturation. It has a great interface for cropping pictures to various sizes. I often use Picasa to crop the picture to the right ratios before printing them. The collage tool is also quite useful. Here are some examples of collages you can make with Picasa

Pile of Pictures Collage in Picasa

Mosaic collage in Picasa

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