Posts

Image processing with the VSCO App

Image editing using an app on a smartphone is becoming more and more popular. This is not only due to the fact that apps and their functionalities are getting better and better. One of these popular apps is “VSCO”. This app is particularly well suited for fast, but high-quality and modern image processing. In addition to a number of tools, the app is also known for its many filters. These are especially popular with Instagram users and amateur photographers to give their own images a uniform and modern look. But many users also use the community function to exchange ideas with other creative users and discover trends in image processing.

Here you can download the free app for Apple and Android devices. What’s particularly pleasant is that the free version of the app doesn’t come with any advertising.

Below, we explain what possibilities the app provides for image processing in detail, what secret functions there are, what the community function is all about and what advantages “VSCO X” has to offer.

Possibilities of the VSCO app for image editing

To edit pictures with the app, you can use your smartphone to take them directly with the app or upload images from memory. A variety of filters and tools are available for image editing.

The main feature of the app and the reason why it is so popular with many photography enthusiasts are the numerous filters. In the free version, the app offers a lot of interesting filters you can spice up your photos with. If that’s not enough, you can buy additional filter collections directly through in-app purchases. The price range here is between CHF 0.50 and CHF 8.

VSCO filters are titled with letters and numbers and target different photographic situations. For example, the U1 to U6 filter series has been specially developed for different lighting conditions to improve urban photography. On the other hand, there is the filter series G4 to G9, which was designed for portrait photography.

Once you have decided on an image that you want to edit, the VSCO filters can be applied with a touch of a finger. If you are satisfied with the result, you have the option of saving the edited image directly in the app. If you like, you can also save it to a central folder on your smartphone or you can share your work on Instagram, Facebook and the like as well as in the VSCO network at the touch of a finger.

Screenshot VSCO app: Overview filters for image processing

Overview: Filters for Image Processing in the VSCO App and the Filter Shop

In addition to the multitude of modern filters, the app also offers a range of standard tools for classic image processing. Beside the normal tools for brightness adjustment or straightening, the VSCO app also has tools to make images sharper, to adjust the skin tone or to play with the light colour. All tools can be adjusted in their intensity.

Available tools in the VSCO App:

  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Straighten (Rotate)
  • Horizontal perspective
  • Vertical perspective
  • Cutting
  • Sharpening
  • Satiation
  • Light colour
  • Shadow
  • Temperature
  • Colour
  • Skin tone
  • Vignette
  • Grain
  • Fading
  • Shadow colour
Screenshot VSCO app: Overview tools for image processing

Overview: Available tools in the VSCO app for image processing

Tips for image editing

As with any other image editing app, the VSCO app also has a few “secret” functions that simplify image editing and save time. We will introduce two of these functions to you in more detail.

Adjusting the intensity of the filters

Each filter can be adjusted in its intensity. This function is a little hidden and not visible at first sight. To adjust the intensity, simply tap the selected filter again. Each filter can be adjusted this way. The intensity levels range from 0 to 12, where 12 is the highest intensity of a filter. Adjusting a filter is particularly important if, for example, there were light fluctuations during a shoot. With the customisable filter, you can now edit each photo individually to create a consistent look.

Screenshot VSCO App: Bildreihe Intensität des Filters: 2, 6, 12

Copying edits

The “Copy Edits” feature saves a lot of time, especially if you want to edit more than a handful of images in the same way. This feature allows you to transfer the editing steps from one image to another with two taps. To do this, simply tap on an image in your overview that you have already edited and tap on the three dots “…” in the lower right corner. There, you have the option to copy the changes. If you want to transfer the changes to another image, first tap on this image or the desired images and then tap on the three dots at the bottom right. There you can now “Insert edits”.

Screenshot VSCO App: So lassen sich Bearbeitungen kopieren

Community functionality of VSCO

In addition to classic image processing, the app also has a community function. Similar to Instagram, you can follow people and interact with their images. As part of the VSCO network, you can also share your own work with the world. To do this, you register in advance with a few clicks in the network, define a user name and a profile picture and you can create individual images or entire collections and interact with other users or be inspired.

Screenshot VSCO app: Overview of the community functionalities

Community Features – Left: Follow people, right: share own pictures with the community

Possibilities of VSCO X

While the free version of the VSCO App comes with a number of preset filters and tools for image processing, there is still “VSCO X”.

“VSCO X” is a membership which is subject to a fee and offers the user even more possibilities for image processing. In addition to over 100 classic VSCO presets, the paid service also offers Film X™ presets and other tools, as well as monthly app add-ons. These include, for example, the new “Frame” tool, which allows you to place creative frames around your shots. There is also an info area where selected photographers can give photography and app tips.

Conclusion

The VSCO App offers a variety of possibilities for image processing. Especially the numerous modern filters make the app a good alternative to other apps for image processing. But the different tools with which you can fine-tune brightness and image noise are also convincing. All in all, with this app for image processing you always have a kind of mini lightroom in your pocket with you, with which you can develop your very own picture language.

Photoshop: Photo stacking for continuously sharp images

The term ‘focus stacking’ describes an image processing technique in which several images of the same motif merge with each other. Differently selected focus points enable a sharp representation over large parts of the picture, which would normally not be possible.

We will show you what you should consider for the correct preparation and execution and how the subsequent image processing succeeds.

Preparation – photography

Good preparation is indispensable and increases the quality of the results that can be achieved in image processing. Focus stacking requires as many identical image series as possible. The only exception is the differently selected focus.

That is why the DSLR camera should always be mounted on a tripod. It is also recommended to use a remote shutter release so that the camera does not have to be touched more often than absolutely necessary. In order to be able to edit the images well later, you should photograph in the file format RAW.

In poor lighting conditions and the resulting long exposure times, even the slightest shocks can lead to blurred images. To avoid this, activate mirror lock up in the camera settings. The mirror will now fold up a short time before shooting and will no longer cause any shocks.

Another factor that should not be underestimated is the lighting on site. Fluctuating lighting has a negative effect on the series of pictures and makes it more difficult to merge them afterwards. Therefore, make sure that the lighting is as consistent as possible, regardless of whether you are taking pictures outdoors or indoors.

Furthermore, you should select a suitable motif for your photo shoot. The general opinion is that the technique of focus stacking is particularly suitable for macro photography. Without post-processing, the often very detailed motifs, such as small animals or flowers, can usually not be reproduced in full focus.

However, even in landscape photography, entire image areas can shine in new splendour thanks to focus stacking. Choose your subject keeping in mind that it must remain motionless for the duration of the shot. Some photographers use specially prepared insects in macro photography.

Tips for a successful execution

Practice makes perfect

For the best possible result, take plenty of pictures with different focus ranges. It is important to focus as evenly as possible. So feel your way forward slowly. In principle, there are two ways of taking pictures.

  • Automatic focusing
  • Manual focusing

If you want to take pictures using autofocus, you should use the Live View function of the camera if possible. This allows you to see the composition of the image on the display and to move the focus point easily.

Alternatively, you can do the focusing yourself. To do this, simply switch from autofocus to manual focus on the lens. The focused area can be shifted with the focus ring of the lens.

Regardless of which method of focusing you choose, be careful when handling the camera. Any touch, however small, could cause your camera’s viewing angle to change, resulting in different shots. Therefore, make sure that the tripod is stable and the camera is firmly locked in place. Focus on the point closest to the subject and slowly work your way back over several focusing planes.

Post-processing and merging with focus stacking software

Once the entire subject has been photographed, the computer can make changes to exposure, contrast, and similar parameters if necessary. Image editing can be done with most common photo editing software. However, it is important that each image receives the same correction and that there are no differences between them.

Image editing with Lightroom

In Lightroom, value corrections can first be made for one image and then applied to the other photos in the series. To do this, make the desired changes to any image. Then select all images and press Sync. A dialog window opens, which you confirm with OK.

Bildwertkorrekturen in Lightroom und das Dialogfenster Synchronisieren in Lightroom

Adjust exposure, contrast and colour values and transfer to all images (“synchronize”)

 

If you are satisfied with the result of the image processing, open all images in Photoshop or an image processing software with similar functionality. As a free alternative to Photoshop, we recommend the focus stacking program CombineZp, with which individual images can be automatically merged together.

Das Dialogfenster Synchronisieren in Lightroom

Stacking in Photoshop

Next, select all layers and press Edit – Auto-Blend Layers.

For further processing, all images must now be superimposed as layers.

 

Inserting multiple images into Photoshop and stacking them

Insert individual images as layers into a document

 

Selecting and merging multiple layers in Photoshop

Select images and edit – Auto-Blend Layers

Then an additional window opens with the title Automatically blend layers. Here you select the option Stack images and confirm your selection with OK.

 

Dialogfenster Ebenen automatisch überblenden in Photoshop

Joining the layers may take some time, depending on the performance of your computer. Photoshop analyses the existing layers for similarities and compares them with each other. The focused areas of the individual layers are then highlighted and connected. At the end of the process you have a photo motif which is focused over the entire area.

Ergebnis des Focus Stackings

Bottom line

Focus stacking offers the possibility to combine several differently focused photos into a single sharp image. This procedure is particularly popular in macro photography, where it is sometimes impossible to focus on all desired areas of the subject despite a small aperture and high depth of field. However, focus stacking can also be used for other things, such as landscape photography. The decisive success factors are, as so often, the right preparation and a lot of patience. With the help of the most modern image processing software, image series can ultimately be combined to form one perfectly sharp image in just a few simple steps.

Bilder auf dem Smartphone mit Beauty-Apps bearbeiten

THIS IS THE TITLE OF THE ARTICLE

this is the intro paragraph. asdfasdf

Facetune: Strahlende Zähne und Augen im Handumdrehen

Die Beauty-App Facetune bietet dem Nutzer zahlreiche Retusche-Werkzeuge, um aus einem Portrait das Beste herauszuholen. Insbesondere die Aufhell-, Detail- und Glättungs-Funktion lassen Augen, Mund und Haut strahlen. Daher ist die App besonders bei Instagram-Nutzern sehr beliebt. Denn nicht nur dunkle Stellen um die Augen lassen sich mit einem einfachen Wischen aufhellen, sondern auch Hintergründe. Eine zu dunkle Aufnahme, lässt sich somit schnell optimieren. Ebenso kann der Hintergrund auch unscharf gezeichnet werden, wodurch das Bild mehr Dynamik bekommt.

Funktionen in der facetune App

Auszug der Funktionsübersicht in der facetune App

Mit Hilfe der «Details» Funktion lassen sich vor allem die Augen und der Mund perfekt in Szene setzen. Und dank der Glättungsfunktion wird der Teint im Gesicht fast schon makellos. Dazu wählt man das gewünschte Werkzeug aus und wischt mit dem Finger über die jeweilige Partie. Je häufiger man wischt, desto intensiver wird der Effekt. Damit man es mit der Retusche nicht übertreibt, kann mit einem Klick auf das blaue Symbol unten rechts auch immer wieder schauen, wie sich der Bearbeitungsprozess entwickelt hat. Hält man das Symbol gedrückt, erscheint nämlich das Ausgangsbild. Zudem bauen sich die Effekte aller Retusche-Werkezeuge in ihrer Intensität mit jedem Wischen auf. Ein stark verfremdetes Bild ist somit kaum möglich. Eine kleine Auswahl an verschiedenen Filtern und Retroeffekten rundet das Angebot der Bildbearbeitungs-App ab.

Facetune ist in einer kostenlosen Version im Google Play Store erhältlich: Android Version

Beauty Retusche mit Facetune - Selfies bearbeiten

links: Bild ohne Bearbeitung, rechts: Bearbeitung des Bildes mit den folgenden Facetune Werkzeugen: Filter «Lighter»; Augen aufgehellt; Augen, Mund und einzelne Haarsträhnen mit «Details» Funktion hervorgehoben, Gesichtshaut geglättet.

YouCamPerfect: Der Klassiker unter den Beauty Apps

Die Beauty-App YouCamPerfect ist ein Klassiker unter den Retusche Apps und bietet sicherlich den grössten Funktionsumfang, um ein Selfie zu optimieren. Dabei verfügt die App sowohl über klassische Bildbearbeitungsfunktionen, wie beispielsweise das Anpassen der Kontraste, als auch über eine Vielzahl an Beauty-Tools. Neben einer automatischen Verschönerungsfunktion gehören dazu auch Hautglättungsfunktionen, eine Nasen- und Gesichtsformkorrektur sowie ein Augenvergrösserungs-Werkzeug. Aber auch das grösser und schmaler schummeln des eigenen Körpers, stellt für die App kein Problem dar.

Funktionen in der YouCamPerfect App

Auszug der Funktionsübersicht in der YouCamPerfect App

Ebenso lassen sich mit der App auch unschöne Augenschatten, Hautunreinheiten und die Farbe der Zähne korrigieren. Besonders interessant ist bei dieser App sicherlich die Smile-Funktion. Dieses Werkzeug bringt jeden noch so grimmigen Gesichtsausdruck zum Lächeln. Anders als bei der Facetune App analysiert die App automatisch das Bild. Der Nachteil dabei: Der Nutzer kann bei fast allen Beauty-Tools lediglich die Intensität des Effektes einstellen. Selbst aber nicht bestimmen, welche Partien bearbeitet werden sollen.

Dank der umfangreichen und sehr gut funktionierenden Werkzeuge besteht die Gefahr, dass das Gesicht zu sehr verfremdet wird. Ein Blick auf das ursprüngliche Vergleichsbild ist daher ratsam. Ebenso das vorsichtige justieren der jeweiligen Werkzeugregler.

YouCamPerfekt ist in einer kostenlosen Version im Google Play Store erhältlich: Android Version

Beauty Retusche mit YouCamPerfect - Selfies bearbeiten

links: Bild ohne Bearbeitung, rechts: Stark bearbeitetes Bild mit den folgenden YouCamPerfect Funktionen: Haut geglättet, schmalere Gesichtsform, Hautfarbe verändert, Nasenverschönerung, Tränensäcke entfernt, Augen vergrössert, Hautunreinheiten entfernt, Rouge aufgelegt, Lächeln intensiviert und die Augen aufgehellt.

Airbrush: Ein neuer Look per Finger-Klick

Die Airbrush App verfügt ähnlich wie die Facetune und die YouCamPerfect App über eine Vielzahl an Beauty-Retusche-Tools und Standardfunktionen zur Bildbearbeitung. Während diese Funktionen bei der Airbrush App vom Ergebnis her nur mittelmässig sind, punktet diese Beauty-App vor allem mit dem automatischen Make-up Tool. Mit nur einem Klick lässt sich ein neuer Make-up Look auf das Bild legen und in der Intensität anpassen. Auch das Überlagern der Looks ist kein Problem. Wollten Sie beispielsweise schon immer mal Sommersprossen haben oder testen, wie Smokey Eyes an Ihnen wirken, dann ist diese App zu empfehlen. Für das beste Ergebnis ist es ratsam, wenn das Make-Up des Ausgangsbildes eher neutral ist. Dadurch kommen die einzelnen Make-up Looks, die die Beauty-App bietet, besser zur Geltung.

Funktionen in der Airbrush App

Auszug der Funktionsübersicht in der Airbrush App

Beauty Retusche mit Airbrush - Selfies bearbeiten

links: Bild ohne Bearbeitung, rechts: bearbeitetes Bild mit dem Make-Up Werkzeug der Airbrush App

Fazit

Bei all den Möglichkeiten, die diese Beauty-Apps bieten, sollten Sie es mit der Bearbeitung nie übertreiben. Ist man auf der Suche nach einer App für eine natürliche Optimierung des eigenen Selfies, so bietet sich die Facetune App an. Hier lassen sich alle Bearbeitungsmöglichkeiten in kleinen Schritten anwenden. Möchte man hingegen ein wenig mit dem eigenen Bild herumspielen und schauen, was alles möglich ist, dann ist die YouCamPerfekt Beauty-App das Richtige. Einen neuen Make-up Look schnell und einfach auszuprobieren, ist mit der airbrush App mit nur einem Klick möglich.

Wir wünschen viel Spaß beim Ausprobieren!

Photoshop: Inserting image objects into new backgrounds

Removing and adding individual image objects is not uncommon in today’s photography. With the help of Photoshop, illusions can be created retrospectively in a few simple steps. Even if a photomontage can only withstand a trained eye for a short time, interesting creative effects can be produced.

We will show you how you should proceed when creating a photomontage and how you can adapt the inserted image into the background very well.

Inserting and scaling images

Select an image and drag and drop it into the open Photoshop file. To make the photomontage appear as authentic as possible in the end, you should have the picture cleanly cropped before inserting it. You will find instructions on the topic of cropping in Photoshop in our article Cropping images with Photoshop: three options.

Once you have inserted an object, you should make sure that the object layer is converted into a so-called “Smart Object”. The conversion allows a non-destructive scaling of the image. For this purpose, the image information of the reference file is stored in the Smart Object. Any changes you make to the design are made to a separate copy of the reference file. This means that your design retains its original quality even after repeated scaling and modification.

Transformation of a Photoshop object into a Smart object

Right-click on the layer containing your inserted object. Then select the entry “Convert to Smart Object” and confirm with a left click.

You can access scaling using the shortcut “Ctrl” + “T”. Make sure that you have selected the layer that you want to scale. After activating the shortcut, a grid appears around the object, which allows you to change the size using the corners. The object can be scaled proportionally by holding down the “Shift” key. This maintains the relation of the object and does not distort it.

Scaling an object in Photoshop

The grid and the points on it allow you to change the size or rotate the object.

Pay attention to the most realistic proportions between the inserted object and the rest of the image. Otherwise, you will quickly notice that this is a photomontage.

The object should also be placed in a suitable position in the image. Make sure that the viewing angle of the subject is the same as the rest of the image. Furthermore, the subject should be placed in alignment with the focused area of the original image. When shooting with a shallow depth of field, a perfectly sharp object cannot appear in a blurred environment and away from the focused area. On the one hand, this would appear very unnatural and, on the other hand, would quickly be exposed as a photomontage.

Dandelion blossom after scaling

The sample image is a shot taken with the aperture wide open. Such shots generally have a very shallow depth of field. While the first blades of grass in the foreground are still relatively sharp, the remaining blades of grass a few centimetres further away are already lost in the blur of the image. The focused area is therefore at the lowest point of the image.

If the dandelion blossom, in the given sharpness, were placed even further towards the background, it would stand out noticeably to the eye. To reduce the sharpness a bit, we select “Filter”, “Blur filter” and then “Gaussian Blur filter”.

Gaussian Blur dialogue window in Photoshop

The choice of radius affects the strength of the blur. The result can also be displayed directly in the entire image.

Adjusting the image to the lighting mood of the background

For a harmonious interaction between the inserted object and the background, it is also very important that the lighting mood of the two elements matches.

By using special filters, Photoshop allows us to match the colour mood of both the background and the object. One possibility, for example, is to colour in the average hue. First select the background layer of your Photoshop file. Then navigate to “Filter”, “Blur filter”, “Calculate average”.

Photoshop-Dropdownmenü des angewählten Durchschnitt-berechnen-Filters

Photoshop then fills the selected layer with the average hue of the other layer. For further processing, we add this hue to the colour selection using the pipette.

Die Anwendung des Durchschnitt-berechnen-Filters färbt den Hintergrund im durchschnittlichen Farbton ein

The blue-grey hue recognisable in the image represents the average hue of the example image we used.

The colouring of the background can be undone using the shortcut “Ctrl” + “Z” (alternatively: “Edit”, “Step back”). Create a new layer and fill in its background in the colour of the average hue.

Eine mit dem durchschnittlichen Farbton eingefärbte Photoshop-Ebene

The aim of the procedure is to apply the average hue only to the object to be inserted. To do this, you first place your hue layer above the object layer in the layer hierarchy. Then, while holding down the “Alt” key, move the mouse pointer over the hue layer. Confirm the square symbol that appears with the arrow pointing downwards by left-clicking. The background should now be visible again and your object should be completely coloured in the respective hue.

Die Füllung der Farbton-Ebene wurde lediglich auf ein einzelnes Objekt angewandt

The opacity of the hue can then be adjusted to your own taste by selecting the hue level. Ensure that the opacity is balanced and matches the background.

The dandelion blossom was successfully inserted into the picture

Finally the stalk of the dandelion blossom was covered with a few blades of grass.

Conclusion

The creation of photomontages requires a certain amount of experience in working with Photoshop. However, advanced users have the opportunity to add their own creativity and personal feelings to the photos they have taken and can add new elements afterwards. The result of the photomontage is directly dependent on the quality of the cropped objects to be added to the image. For a credible representation, it is recommended to coordinate the relations of the image components and not to choose an excessively composed image. The inserted objects should always be adapted to the given lighting mood.

An old black-and-white photo of a mother with her two children in a square.

Photoshop: Colouring photos

“From old to new”! Old black-and-white photos have often lost their vitality after many years of storage, or newly taken ones are not very expressive or lack a certain artistic aesthetic. This is where you can be creative. By editing photos with a professional software like Photoshop, you get a variety of design options. You can, for example, intensify the colour of an image at a later date or colour individual image elements of black-and-white photos.

In the following, we introduce you to some techniques for colouring photos in Photoshop and then give you important tips that you should consider when designing your black-and-white photos.

Techniques for colouring in Photoshop

In Photoshop, the most popular paid image editing program, many different methods and techniques can be used to partially or completely retouch images. Before you begin colouring your photos, you should develop an idea of the desired end result. Think about whether you want to design the entire photo or just accentuate individual elements with colour at the beginning. This consideration influences the actual method.

The Color Splash Effect

If you only want to apply colour to certain elements of the photo, for example to draw the viewer’s attention to these areas, use the Color Splash technique. You can only highlight one or a few color sources in an otherwise black-and-white photo

For the Color Splash technique, you must use a coloured digital photo, which you first convert into a black-and-white photograph. The desired elements are then re-coloured. The areas are filled manually with the selected colour. To do this, use detailed brush strokes to apply colour to the whole image. This gives you an impressive photo that looks as if it had been created by a professional.

In this tutorial you will find illustrative instructions for the Color Splash technique using Photoshop.

Colorkey-Foto - ein rotes Velo in einer Gasse mit Kopfsteinpflaster

Repainting of a complete photo: Tinting and manual colouring

With older black-and-white photos, the colour has often faded. The image is then neither particularly expressive, nor does it appear artistic or of high quality. With Photoshop, you can breathe new life into these photos by giving them new colours.

altes Schwarz-Weiss-Foto einer Mutter mit ihren beiden Kindern auf einem Platz

In Photoshop there are several techniques for this. One possibility is to assign a basic colour tone to the photograph at the beginning, which gives the whole picture a certain atmosphere and colouring. On this basis, individual layers are then selected and painted with different colours. Here it makes sense to work with different layers above the original photo in order to be able to post-process these separately afterwards. You can also apply a gradient to the hue so that the intensity and saturation of the base colour vary within the image.

Another possibility to colour black and white photos completely is offered by Photoshop using manual colouring. The step of giving the image a general basic tint is not necessary here. Different elements are filled with colours manually. You also work with brush strokes to be able to apply the color in detail and exactly. This way you get a realistic colour design that creates a colourful and modern looking photograph from an expressionless photo.

The following tutorial provides detailed instructions on how to colour a black-and-white photo.

Tips for expressive and realistic photos

  1. If you want to scan old black and white photos in advance to be able to re-colour them afterwards, make sure that they are not too badly damaged or without any contrast. Such images often cannot be improved significantly by editing them.
  2. No matter which technique is used in Photoshop, it is always recommended to work with different layers for colouring the different areas of colour. This allows easy and targeted post-processing to perfect your photos.
  3. The quality of a re-coloured photograph is determined by a realistic colour design. Therefore, use many different colour nuances and pay attention to the transitions between the individual colours. The extra effort is well worth it.
  4. If you only colour individual elements of your black-and-white photo, the artistic accentuation of these areas is the main focus. Here you do not have to pay attention to a realistic colour representation.
  5. As with other post-processed photos, you should also consider adjusting the lighting, adding sharpness, retouching, and filtering on re-coloured photos to make them more impressive and individual.

Photoshop isn’t the only photo editing program that gives you great photo colouring options. You can also use free alternatives to create individual photographs.

Alternatives to Photoshop: GIMP, Photoscape, Paint.net & Lightbox free

4 Free Programmes for Editing Your Photos

Extensive photo editing capabilities don’t have to be expensive. Even if Photoshop continues to be the most popular photo-editing software out there, there are some very good alternatives available. We’ll introduce you to four alternative photo-editing programmes that are just as good as Photoshop and are completely free of charge.

GIMP

A very popular programme amongst free photo-editing software is the open-source programme GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). This software offers both beginners and demanding photographers alike the most important tools necessary for professional photo editing. Besides the normal functions offered by all photo-editing software such as various filters for colour matching and the ability to rotate and crop images, GIMP also has a “magic scissors” tool that allows you to cut out or retain individual elements in the photo. Thanks to the programme’s single-window mode, the software is accessible even for beginners. In just a few steps you can adjust colour and contrast, make the background blurrier, and reduce image noise. Also, thanks to countless available plug-ins, the programme can be expanded to your heart’s content. Popular GIMP plug-ins are “Watermark,” which allows the user to add a watermark to digital photos, or “Shadows and Highlights,” which makes it possible to adjust the shadows and lighting.

PhotoScape

PhotoScape is most suitable for beginners and amateur photographers since it offers a wide variety of possibilities to edit photos as well as the ability to manage and view them. This photo-editing software is also very easy to use. Standard functions such as cropping, brightness adjustment, and soft-focus effects are included with PhotoScape as well as the ability to insert objects into your digital photos. There are several highlights of this programme. One is the GIF-animator, which allows you to create small GIF’s from several digital photos in the blink of an eye. Another highlight is that this programme makes it possible to easily create a poster or collage from a collection of photos. Furthermore, this all-round programme has a RAW-converter which makes it possible to convert RAW files into JPEG’s. Besides offering a quick overview of all your digital photos and the ability to edit and optimise them with easy-to-use tools, this programme also offers a variety of extra features that will enable you to creatively edit your photos.

Editing Photos with Free Software

Lightbox Free

Lightbox Free is best suited for quick and easy photo editing, whether it’s removing red-eye, cropping, or just simple colour adjustments. Besides the standard functions, this programme also comes with other special tools for editing your photos, such as removing colour faults, brightening shadows, or adjusting the contrast. It’s also possible to edit RAW files using this software. Thanks to the programme’s simplicity, this free photo-editing software is especially well suited for beginners.

Paint.NET

Paint.NET can also be described as a good all-round photo-editing programme since this free software is easier to use than Photoshop, but still offers a multitude of functions. This programme was developed by Washington State University in cooperation with Microsoft and was initially developed as a replacement of the tried and tested programme MS Paint. However, this programme is capable of much more than its predecessor and especially stands out due to its overall user friendliness. Besides the functions available from any standard photo-editing software like cropping, colour correction, or brightness and contrast adjustment, this free programme also comes with various tools that users of Photoshop will already be familiar with such as lasso, paintbrush, or magic wand. This programme also comes with an editor that supports layers, blending, and transparency. Thanks to numerous plug-ins, this free software can also easily be expanded. With the “PSD Plug-in,” for instance, users can even load and save Photoshop .PSD files.