Pretty much everyone knows by now that Adobe Photoshop is the Cadillac of image editing programs. It’s also well known that it doesn’t come cheap. In fact, even the stripped down Photoshop Elements can cost upwards of $100!
If you’re on a tight budget, but you’d still love to have a powerful, extremely capable photo editing program, I strongly suggest giving a free program called GIMP a try. Most people find that GIMP provides all the power and functionalilty they need, at a price that simply cannot be beat.
GIMP is an acronym that stands for “GNU Image Manipulation Program”. Although it’s distributed for free under the GNU licensing agreement, GIMP is actually more powerful than the vast majority of commercial image editing programs on the market today.
Like Photoshop, GIMP comes with tons of specialized tools for correcting colors, adjusting brightness and contrast, sharpening or blurring images, removing red-eye, adding special lighting effects, and a whole lot more. And as one might expect, you can easily work with layers and make area-specific adjustments as needed.
In a nutshell, GIMP offers almost everything you’ll find in Photoshop, but it won’t cost you a dime. There are a couple of caveats to using it however:
1 – The learning curve is steep and many of the tools aren’t all that intuitive.
2 – GIMP doesn’t support RAW images by default. You can add RAW support via a plugin called UFRaw, but it isn’t a perfect solution for various reasons.
Caveats aside, if you’re willing to invest the time required to learn its ins-and-outs, GIMP is hands-down the best free software you’re going to find for editing photos and other types of images.
Click here to visit the GIMP homepage where you’ll find links for downloading the software along with some handy tutorials, FAQs and other useful resources.