Modern cameras can make digital photography seem very easy, and even the most basic models will often produce crisp, clear photos.
You’ll still have occasional issues with lighting, white balance, red-eye and more, though, so it’s a good idea to keep a photo editor around to help resolve them: but which one?
The extremely demanding (or very wealthy) may still opt for Photoshop, and there’s no doubt it’s a great program.
But if your finances won’t stretch that, though, don’t worry, there are some excellent free tools around.
We’ve found 5 of the very best free photo editing apps, and whether you’re looking for comprehensive editing power, ease of use, arty effects or just a quick way to spice up a photo before posting it on Facebook, there’s something for you here.
But if your are still eager to work with Photoshop, though can’t afford it, you are in luck!
Adobe has released this legacy version of the ever popular Photoshop as freeware. Look at the bottom of the post for a link to download Adobe Photoshop CS2. I have tested the Mac version and can confirm that it works indeed.
GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) first appeared way back in 1996, and has been regularly updated ever since, so it’s no surprise that the package is the most powerful free photo editor that you’ll find anywhere.
There are tools to correct colours, enhance contrast, brightness and more; sharpen or blur an image, fix perspective problems, remove red-eye; add special lighting effects, turn a photo into an oil painting, and create an animation.
The paint tools alone are amazing, there’s full layer support and lots of ways to extend the program.
All this power does mean GIMP takes a while to learn, but don’t let that put you off – if you’ve any previous image editing experience then you’ll be doing useful work within minutes.
It may not have anything like the power of GIMP, but there’s still plenty to like about Paint.NET. It’s strong on image editing basics, with options to resize and rotate your photos, a good range of selection and paint tools, and some excellent special effects.
Support for layers means you can apply your edits to part of an image only, and the program can be extended with plugins.
Best of all, though,clear and straightforward interface means it’s very easy to use, even if you’re a complete graphics novice.
PhoXo has been around for almost 10 years now, and it’s grown into a very useful editor with something for everyone. Kids can play around with the clipart, customising images with cartoon cats; practical types will enjoy options like the ability to add a custom watermark to an entire folder of images; and everyone else will appreciate the drawing and paint tools, image transformations, effects and more.
4. Funny Photo Maker
Funny Photo Maker has no layer support, no smart selection tools, no paint or drawing options. But that doesn’t matter, because what it does have is an amazing range of effects which you can apply in seconds.
So you can add someone’s face to a movie poster, magazine cover or a dollar bill; transform a still image into an animation; add rain or snow to a photo, apply some excellent frames, and turn your photos into a collage, amongst many other options.
5. Photo Pos Pro
Its tiny toolbars and dated interface mean Photo Pos Pro doesn’t look too promising, but begin to explore and you’ll soon be impressed.
There are plenty of selection options, a wide range of paint tools, colour corrections and more.
You get reasonable support for layers and masks, lots of effects (all extremely configurable), and a scripting tool which helps you automate many editing tasks.
And the program offers some fun touches, too, like a set of “Magical” effects which help you add fireworks, bubbles, stardust or similar decorations to an image.
Adobe Photoshop CS2
Download the relevant version here, and please take note of their respective serial numbers.
Windows Serial number: 1045-1412-5685-1654-6343-1431
Mac OS X Serial number: 1045-0410-5403-3188-5429-0639