Making Good Photos Look Great
If you like taking pictures and are active on social media, you probably spend a lot of time in uploading them on Instagram or Facebook. Sharing photos through social media is a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends and keep a track of memories. It’s also a way to share parts of your life that are important to you – and sometimes it’s also a way to get your friends’ opinion on your latest hairstyle or that great pair of shoes!
However, as far as digital cameras have come over the past few years, they still don’t let you click (and so upload) perfect photos. Blurry images and low quality photos because of low lighting are still a reality. Chances are, the photos you post could do with a little editing before you put them up for the world to see.
There are limited editing options available to you if you use Window’s pre-loaded image editing software. Cropping and resizing your photos is probably all you’re going to get. But you don’t have to settle for that – there are some great apps that let you do a whole lot more with your photos, right from your desktop. Apart from basic editing, some of them will let you add some pretty gorgeous photo effects and give you access to cool features like background editing and color injecting.
Here is out selection of 5 great desktop apps that you can use to brighten up your photos.
Pixlr is best known for being an online, browser-based photo editing app. It has recently released a desktop based version that we think is pretty good. You can use it for free, but they charge you $1.99 for access to advanced features.
With the free version of Pixlr, you can add some colorful effects to your photos. You can add some attractive stickers and “stylize” your photos. Pixlr will also let you edit your photos, refine and retouch them too. The pro version has advanced effects and an enhanced color tool.
The best part about this software is the ability to give different, beautiful effects to different parts of your photo. The call this feature “Influence Masks”. With it, you can be creative and create a plethora of contrasting effects in a single photo.
You can download Pixlr here.
If you’re looking for something professional grade but don’t want to spend a lot of money, you should take a look at GIMP. GIMP (Graphics Manipulation Package) is powerful software that doesn’t cost you a dime to use.
It has advances features like distortion fixing, filtering, digital “healing” (clearing clutter) as well as hardware support for external devices. GIMP also has extensive plugins (it’s open source) that can enhance its functionality. The plugins are what makes this software unique.
These plugins are scripted in languages like Script-Fu, Perl, Python and Tcl. These plugins let you add very unique effects to your photos, like custom watermarks, the ability to turn your photos appear vintage, give them 3D effects and even make them appear as if they were drawn with a pencil.
You can get GIMP here for Windows.
Picasa v. 3.9 is the latest offering of Google’s popular image editing software. Picasa has everything you could want out of photo editing software – unless you’re a professional photographer, of course. If you are a professional photographer, Adobe Photoshop is probably your best choice.
But if you want a fun and easy-to-use software with a lot of nifty features, you can’t go wrong with Picasa. Some of the basic features in Picasa include the ability to retouch, add color, crop, adjust contrast and resize your photos. If you’re feeling lazy, you can try the “I’m Feeling Lucky” option to get the software to auto-improve your photo. Picasa uploads your photo(s) before it works on it, so your original is always safe.
Picasa is available for Windows.
Who doesn’t know Adobe Photoshop? No photo editing software list can be complete without Adobe’s iconic Photoshop software. Photoshop has everything you need – and we really mean everything. Adobe Photoshop is made for professional photographers, so it has a lot of advanced features. It’s not the easiest software to use, so you might want to give this a miss if you’re a basic user, but it more than makes up for it with its photo editing capabilities.
Adobe Photoshop lets you add “blur” effects to your photos – which makes it seem as if your images are alive and moving. This is a feature you won’t find in many other apps. The other unique effects you can add include push, bloat and pull. You can add and remove effects at will, so you won’t ever be stuck with a bad picture. Adobe Photoshop will also let you do other awesome stuff like add animation effects to 3D photos. You can print 3D photos with it too.
Get the free trial of Adobe Photoshop.
Fotor is a simple but effective photo editing tool. It has all the basic photo editing tools and some unique tools like cover making and photo card creation tools. With it, you can design your own album covers or create a custom photo card that you can send out on holidays.
The best feature of the tool, though, is that it lets you make some very good-looking, colorful collages. If you need to stitch your college snaps together into a collage quickly, try this app. Fotor also lets you add some really eye-catching effects to your pictures. You can make your pictures tiled, let you add splashes of colors, create a classic mosaic and even add a “funky” twist to your pictures.
Get Fotor for Windows (and Windows 8).
The apps on this list are suitable for a variety of needs. If you want easy-to-use desktop photo editing software that lets you add some nifty effects, stick with Pixlr or Fotor. If you want something more powerful, get Picasa. And finally, if you want to edit photos and add effects like a pro, get either GIMP or Adobe Photoshop.