Image Editing On A Budget.


You Still Don't Have To Spend A Dime To Get Professional Results!


By Jack Socha


My wife is a pro, using the newest version Photoshop as part of her book editing and layout business. I take a different path after years of working with non-profits on tight budgets and students. I use a lot of free software!


As most of my digital camera class students (especially those with $100 - $200 cameras)were not interested in spending a big money for image editing software, I created this list.  It showed them 100% free software that often suits their needs and capabilities.


Now updated, these are still all "standalone" programs that do not rely on the "cloud" to work and are not "apps" for a particular browser. I do suggest that you download and SAVE these setup programs. Being free, you can never tell when the author might pull the plug on the software or sell it  and move to something else.


I've added a sixth free program for Windows users. To the surprise and delight of many, Adobe made an older (years older!) version of it's famous Photoshop freeware.


This free version of Photoshop offers sophisticated tools such as dodging and burning and levels adjusting not often found in the other free programs, but it is not the end-all and be-all for all for everyone.


So I invite you to go to the sites of these other products and try them! There is no cost, no obligation, no spyware and no salesperson will call!  (By the way, I have no connection to these sites. They don't even know I am writing about them.)

Also, PLEASE, PLEASE do not type these addresses or names into Google or another search engine! 


Use the address bar at the top of your browser to go directly to them!  If you "search" for these products you may end up at some bogus site that adds something bad to the free software, charges you money, or requires you to "register." Get them from the source or a place they recommend. You have been warned!


IRFANVIEW: After years of using Irfanview, it remains my favorite image viewer that can also make quick changes to image size, do modest color correction and even print printed "contact sheets" of selected image files. It is my default program for quickly viewing and sorting images. It also can make "crude but effective" web pages showing thumbnails of images that, when clicked, take you to the larger image. While not very exciting compared to online albums, it is very useful for businesses who simply want to provide image access with a minimum of complexity. The sorting utility is superb, but does require the user to have a basic understanding of Windows file management.


PHOTOFILTRE is a clever image editing program from a fellow who is both a graphic artist and a programmer. I use it constantly to tweak photos, crop, add text, and use special effects. It is especially useful for eBay photos, as you can easily add text and even arrows to point to things in your photo.  Strong graphic elements such as posterization and duo-tone filters can be used for logos and business graphics. Gettin to the free version is a bit confusing. You need to go to the site below, click on "English" and then click on the Photofiltre V.6  link on the left side of the screen if you want to find the FREE version download location. The free version site looks a lot like the first one, so don't get confused!


FASTONE IMAGE VIEWER I'm leaving this on the list with qualifications. The recent version (6/16) did not play well with Windows 10, jumping the usage of the computer's processor to 90%, requiring an "end task" (via Control-Alt-Delete) to shut it down.  As it an attractive program, I will check back with them. If you have trouble with it (or not!) please let me know by email or on our Facebook page (search for sillycatvalley).




PHOTOSCAPEis a remarkable suite of programs that allows editing, combining of shots and even making animated gifs (those still shots that seem to move). There are also many special effects as well as the ability to add optical "props" to photos. Worth exploring and, again, FREE!




GIMP is the free Graphic Image Manipulation Program that most closely resembles Photoshop. It is open source, so it runs on Windows, Macs and Linux computers.  I don't use it much, as I don't care for the interface, but it does offer "dodging and burning," which most others do not. Now that there is a free version of Photoshop with similar tools, it certainly has competition.




OK, it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the latest version, but is now the most powerful and feature-rich of the free programs.  Does it mean I use it exclusively?  No. I use it when I need certain features such as dodging and burning and adjusting levels. There are parts of it such as Adobe Bridge that simple did not work on Windows 10 for lack of a "DLL" file (dynamic link library).  But these can be found with a quick search and placed where they are supposed to be if you are careful.  Or just don't use that feature. Note you MUST use the serial number below.



Direct download it here:  The Windows serial number needed is fully legal.  It is 1045-1412-5685-1654-6343-1431  Tested as of July 2016 ]