To Edit or Not to Edit. What Was The Question?

A hot topic in our photography group is photo editing. Many of us still have a tenuous grip on our camera’s functions and the thought of editing those images on a computer  terrifies some of us. Try as I might to take photos that don’t need any editing, there’s always a bit of straightening, levels adjusting and sharpening needed.

For the last few years I’ve used Adobe’s PhotoShop Elements 11 for cataloging and editing my photos and am quite happy with it. Before PSE11 I used PhotoImpact, that is before Corel bought the program from Ulead and then stopped development. Grrr. But I digress… As much as Google, Adobe and others want me to upload my images to their online services, I still prefer having a program on my computer, paid for once rather than needing to pay an ongoing monthly subscription, whether I use it for 0 photos, 5 photos or 500 photos. Call me old-fashioned.

At the end of last year, I sent our group the following list (definitely partial and definitely Windows-centric and in no particular order) of free and freemium image editors that can be used online or downloaded to one’s computer and hope you find it useful as well:

Image Compression:

Full Image Editing: (Download Windows only) (Download Cross-platform) (Download Windows only) (Download Windows only) (Download Cross-platform and online) (Online only, free or paid subscription w/premium features) (Online only) (Online only, free or paid subscription w/premium features) (Online only)

Gone, but not forgotten:

Picasa™: Google’s downloadable image catalog and editor. Although it’s been discontinued in favor of Google Photos online, search for it on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. The last version available for Windows was 3.9.141 (Build 259). I’m guessing the download link will change to iOS if you visit on a Mac.

Nik Collection – Another discontinued Google product, including some amazing filter plugins for your existing photoediting program. Google made it available as a free download after March 24 2016. You might be able to find on the Wayback Machine.

Since sending that list to our photography group, I’ve come across a few more editors and one more image compression app:

No experience with any of these. If you do, let us know what you think about them.

Lightroom™ Alternatives:

If you need more than just the basics that the above programs provide, there’s been a lot of buzz around the release of Darktable a free, open-source image editor available for iOS, now also for Windows. From the various write ups online it seems the feature set of the Windows version is not quite ready for prime time. I’ll be keeping my eye on this one.

Featured Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash



  1. One thing at a time. Get comfortable with taking better shots with your new camera first. Photo-editing comes second. :*

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