I Dare You!

by peter_budo

submit your photo

Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Take the 2-minute tour ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm looking to find a free program that allows me to edit my images. Ones I have used so far are very limited, so if you have any ideas please let me know.

Thanks Rachel

share|improve this question

closed as too broad by mattdm, TFuto, Philip Kendall, Nir, AJ Henderson Oct 6 '14 at 14:12

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What platform? Mac, Windows, Linux? –  Alan Aug 12 '10 at 20:51
What programs have you used before which you found limited? Knowing that will help us suggest programs at an appropriate level (e.g., if Picasa was too limited, I know not to suggest it). –  Rabbi David Aug 12 '10 at 20:54
"Editing" can be understood differently. If you just want to browse and choose (editing in a more traditional sense) I'd recommend Picasa. If you mean editing as post-processing, look at the first answer below. If you're looking for both, Picasa can be combined easily with, say, Gimp. –  Karel Aug 13 '10 at 19:30

13 Answers 13

up vote 11 down vote accepted

GIMP and Paint.net are two very good ones, as John has pointed out.

While somewhat limited, Picasa and iPhoto are two other alternatives (the latter being Mac only), which are pretty good.

share|improve this answer

There are a few, but two of the best are:

The Gnu Image Manipulation Program (quite powerful)

Paint.NET (not as powerful as the GIMP, but very good)

share|improve this answer
+1 for GIMP and Paint.Net –  Alan Aug 12 '10 at 20:50
+1 Great suggestion, I use these as well. GIMP takes some getting used to though. But is has superb capabilities (similar to Photoshop). –  Marc Aug 13 '10 at 8:17

XnView. It is good because it is also a photo organizer, has batch editing, scripts etc. Regularly updated.

share|improve this answer

I want to put in a a plug for picasa. I know it's simple, and doesn't adequately "respect the RAW," but it gives me good results for web-based viewing or smallish snapshots (I'm not sure I would want to blow up the prints, but I haven't tried it).

What I really like about Picasa is the ease of use: the controls help you see the changes as you go, and give you a good sense of what they do. Just for making your pictures look better on screen, it does a great job.

share|improve this answer

I haven't tried it myself, but Adobe offers a free online editor at photoshop.com I assume it's not as cool as their for-pay software, but maybe worth checking out.

share|improve this answer

If you need to edit raw files consider also RawTherapee or Photivo (wich works also with some not raw file type)

share|improve this answer
big plus for photivo - lovely! –  Hasin Hayder Mar 6 '12 at 0:08

GIMP is free, and available on pretty much any platform, but in the case that you're on a Mac, and willing to fork over 15 USD, Pixelmator is one of the cheapest programs that can handle just about any image you throw at it, anc you don't have to convert your RAW files before editing them.

share|improve this answer

I have to agree with everything that's been said so far. I've been using Picasa considerably and find it to be great for working with simple edits and jpeg images. Lately I've been using a demo version of Lightroom 3 to see if it might fit my needs better (but it's expensive-ish). Generally new Nikon and Canon cameras come with their own software, like View NX http://www.nikonusa.com/Find-Your-Nikon/Product/Imaging-Software/NVNX/ViewNX.html for Nikon. Canon also seems to have lots of free tools for viewing and tweaking their RAW format.

share|improve this answer

I really like Microsoft Office Picture Manager...Simple, fast, and just some basic tools for those who don't need a full blown program.

share|improve this answer

I started from Picasa, later moved to GIMP. I love working in GIMP and there is plenty of GIMP tutorials on the web which is very helpful.

share|improve this answer

Darktable is a very powerful photo processing tool. You cannot "paint" as with Gimp/Photoshop, but you can apply many kinds of filters in a non-destructive way to your photos. The description from their website expresses the features best:

darktable is an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers. It manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable and enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.

share|improve this answer
However, there are only builds for UNIX-based systems (so, mostly Linux distros and OSX), not Windows. –  inkista Oct 4 '14 at 15:57

I use GIMP and ImageJ. ImageJ is a free program that allows you to more easily do lower level manipulations on the individual grey values of the pixels than "higher level tools" such as GIMP.

share|improve this answer

Gimp is a great tool to use for photo editing, Adobes editing tools that are free are not the latest, and do not always work when you download them

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.