November 29, 2010, 9:36 AM — You could spend hundreds of dollars on image-editing software. But before you part with your hard-earned money, consider one of these free photo-editing programs. No matter what your level of expertise, one of these eight photo editors will fit your needs and personality--as well as your budget.
(For access to all of these downloads in one convenient place, see our "Photo Editors for Everyone" collection.)
Fun for Everyone
Task-based and simple to use, Kodak EasyShare guides you through common photo-editing processes. At-home creative tasks focus on 15-day trials of various ArcSoft Print Creations projects such as scrapbooks and calendars (ArcSoft's templates for 1/4-fold greeting cards and album pages are free). Although EasyShare is designed to support Kodak cameras and printers, it can work with pictures from any camera, and it outputs to whatever printer you have connected. The software also links to the free online Kodak Gallery for sharing or ordering prints and photo novelty items.
Download Kodak EasyShare | Price: Free
From the moment you launch Photoscape, the program is unusually appealing and approachable. Photo-editing tools are not extensive, but they work quickly and easily, with both auto commands and manual dialog boxes. Photoscape also includes batch processing, print package templates, RAW conversion (to JPEG), an animated-GIF maker, and other tools. Though the interface is quite nonstandard, becoming accustomed to it doesn't take long.
Download Photoscape | Price: Free
Picasa is primarily an entry-level photo organizer, but it also has editing tools. Upon launch, Picasa makes quick work of importing all your photos from wherever you've saved them, and it groups people pictures for easy naming (to establish face recognition). The Tuning, Fixes, and Effects edit tabs are simple to navigate and use. It exports photos to a nice range of sharing options, such as creating a CD, making a movie, uploading to Picasa Web Albums, or sending to your blog on Blogger.
Download Picasa | Price: Free
Windows Live Photo Gallery