Friday, May 16, 2014

Photo Editing (Windows)

We've have seen our fair share of amazing photos in our office. A lot of photos we have printed have been edited or needed some editing. It could be from retouching to colour balancing, whatever it is, I find that a lot of customers prefer if the shots had some editing done to it. Of course, there is the occasion that the photo is perfect and doesn't need any editing.

There are many photo editing software available for free that allow people to do the editing themselves. It's a great way to make your photos look the way you want it without having to explain to someone how to do it.

Adobe Photoshop is probably the most popular and well known software for editing photos. There is also Adobe Lightroom that was made specifically for handling and editing photos. However, not everyone can afford these programs or needs all their capabilities. There are many free and powerful photo editing tools and software available that can do just about the same.

It doesn't matter if the program was free or paid for, they all have (or should have) the same basic features. They all have some sort of colour adjuster, levels adjuster, red eye remover and image sharpener.

Those are probably the features you'll use the most. A good photo usually doesn't need a lot of editing. Maybe a few tweaks here and there but the less the better.  With good lighting and a good eye, anyone can take a really good photo.  When it comes to photo effects, like the ones you see on Instagram, you'll need a software that has filters. Sometimes you'll need to be able to make layers if you want to do something more custom.

Windows Photo Gallery & iPhoto

There are a few editing software preinstalled into many computers such as iPhoto for Mac and Windows Photo Gallery for Windows. They both have the adjustment sliders to quickly edit the photo and also automatic adjustments for those who aren't familiar with the sliders:

iPhoto and Windows Photo Gallery

You can easily adjust the light and colours of the photo. Here I took two photos, one of our picture framing wall and a bowl a fruit. I took it under natural sunlight with automatic settings on my camera. Most of the times under most lighting pictures will look more yellow then you want. I opened the images in Windows Photo Gallery and I adjusted the tint and saturation of both photos. I also changed the brightness and contrast of the image.

You can see the photos are more red tone and the colours are little richer:

Original vs. Windows Photo Gallery Edit

There's also an auto button for both iPhoto and Windows Photo Gallery but it doesn't always turn out how you want it. The photos look better but since it is very basic I don't have much flexibility with what I want to do. These simple photo editors work better with photos that don't need much touching up. 


Another program that can be downloaded for free is Picasa. There are a lot more options in this program. This is a program that gives you some filters and effects to make your photo more artistic or fun. It also comes with the basic sliders for exposure, highlight and colour temperature.

There are five tabs that have different editing options that you can use, below are three of them:

Original vs. Picasa Edit

The edited image looks less processed than the one edited in Windows Photo Gallery. I used sharpen and warmify from the third tab and adjusted the settings in the second tab to edit the photo.

In my research I've come across a lot of online editors. The great thing about this is that you do not have to download anything to your computer.  Most of them have the same functions as the default programs installed in all computers. Each one has their own effects and filters so it's great that you do not need to download the program to your computer if you just want to use one of the filters or you don't always need to be editing photos.

Some sites I came across include:,, and They all have a similar interface that include the basic editing features, so learning how to use them is fairly simple. They all include their own filters and effects and allows you to share with your social media and send the photos via email.

Photoshop Dupes?

If the programs and websites above do not cut it for you then I did some research to find a software that has the same capabilities you would find in Photoshop. looks very close to Photoshop. It allows you to create layers and has similar functions you would find in Photoshop. It's also a plus that it is online.

Photoshop vs.

GIMP and Pixia are downloadable softwares that are similar to Photoshop. I would say out of all the ones I've tested these two are the better ones. Being a long time Photoshop user, it did take me a few minutes to adjust to the interface. It had many of the same functions as Photoshop and I think the edits looked best.

I forgot to mention all the programs I tested today was my first time using them. Most of them were straight forward. Pixia and GIMP had more of a learning curve. If you are only I beginner I would stick with one of the online editors because you can play around with the settings and there are more automatic features that allows you to do more.

I spent less than 1 minute editing each photo to see what type of quality I would get from each program. All of these programs work on Windows and Mac but there are ones that are made specifically for Mac, Windows or Linux.

Please remember when you are saving your image that it saves the best quality/high resolution. This is why I do not recommend using Instagram or a cell phone app to edit your photos. Most of these programs cannot handle large files so they will downsample the image and make it low resolution or low quality.

There are probably a lot more photo editors available these are the ones I came across the most on other websites and from my experience.

If you don't like any of these programs and want to use Photoshop, you can download a trial to see if you like or need it. 

Here is a comparison image using the various websites or programs I mentioned above:

No comments:

Post a Comment