Photoshop is expensive. The latest edition has a price tag of $700! Even the cheap alternatives that you may find will run you about $100.
But don't fret! There are some wonderful alternatives to Photoshop that are completely free!
What's good about Picasa is that everything is on slider bars--you choose less or more. Nothing is complicated. If Photoshop intimidates you, or you simply don't have the time to learn it, or you don't have the time to mess with curves and layers and so forth, Picasa is for you!
And don't think Picasa isn't capable just because it's simple. I've been using Picasa more and more because it does some things faster and easier than the more complicated software that I use.
The best part is that this software is free!
What's not-so-good about Picasa is that it does have its limit. It's not nearly as capable as Photoshop. There are no layers, curves, or clone stamp.
Paint.NET is a very capable software that does almost as much as Photoshop. It has layers, curves, and a clone stamp, as well as tons of other features. Download some free plug-ins and make it even more powerful. You can do almost anything you want using this software.
What's good about Paint.NET is that it is very powerful yet not too difficult to learn. It will take you less time to learn than Photoshop. It is also completely free!
What's not-so-good is that it is a .NET program, which could be a problem for you (especially for Mac users).
If Paint.NET isn't for you, try GIMP!
Gimp can do 99% of what Photoshop can. There is very, very little that you can't do using this software. Gimp has made spending hundreds of dollars on photo editing software pointless.
What's good about GIMP is that it is as powerful as software that costs hundreds of dollars, yet it is completely free!
What's not-so-good is that there is a steep learning curve and resources to learn it are harder to come by than with Photoshop.
So which one should you get? Which one is right for you?
My suggestion is to try all three, since there are advantages and disadvantages to each (and they're free). My favorite is Paint.NET, but I also use Picasa and GIMP for different things.
|Dry Red Rose - Tehachapi, California|
My favorites are Pixlr-O-Matic and Photo Editor. These two apps together will allow you to do almost anything. I used these two apps together to create the above image.
I also use PicsArt and Pudding Camera, although not nearly as much as the other two. I don't use Instagram, but it is another good option.
In Part 5 we'll look at some inexpensive studio ideas.