3 Great Photo Editing Programs for Beginners

It seems like everyone today is a photographer thanks to the ease of use of high tech cameras and the advanced editing programs available to computer owners. Even the most advanced photographers can get lost in the swamp of photo editing programs and applications that are available. Here to shine some light on such technology is a list of the best photo editing apps appropriate for the beginner photographer.

1. Adobe Photoshop Elements 14


Source: Adobe

You have probably heard of Photoshop as it is one of the most well known editing programs, but if you’re a beginner, chances are you’ve been too intimidated to give it a try. Now there is Adobe Photoshop Elements 14, designed for entry level photo editors but still complete with the tools Photoshop is known for. What makes this program so easy to use is the fact that there is a “guide mode” which walks you through the entire program step by step. There are additional modes you can enter as your experience level grows. Adobe also offers a 30-day full service free trial so that you can delve into the program and try it before you buy it.

A few of the best features of the software are:

  • Importing and organization: One of the first things photographers are taught is to properly organize photos for ease of access. When you are working with an editing software, it can be difficult to keep your photos in a searchable order. Photoshop Elements 14 allows you the ease of importing and sorting your photos based on name, location, date, time, and even ranking so that you can find them easily.
  • Easy adjustment tools: The No. 1 thing a photo editing software should be able to do is basic adjustments such as cropping, rotation, saturation, hue, contrast, brightness, red eye removal, etc. Photoshop Elements can do all of these with buttons designated for each modification. The program also comes with guided tutorials for every adjustment you are looking to make.
  • Sharing options: With the numerous social media platforms available, part of photography is showing off your work. Photoshop Elements 14 has tremendous photo sharing capabilities that allow you to create greeting cards, photo books, scrapbooks, or just upload simple photos to Facebook, YouTube, email, etc.

2. Corel Paintshop Pro X8


Source: Corel

What once use to be known as a raster graphics editor owned by Jasc Software was bought by Corel Corporation in 2004 and is now known as the Corel Paintshop Pro used today. Corel Painshop Pro X8 is easily comparable to Adobe Elements as it has many of the same features, but one difference is in the program’s interface. The only major drawback is that the software is only compatible with PCs, not Macs. Like Adobe, you can also try out Paint Shop Pro for free for 30 days by downloading it from Corel’s website.

A few of the best features of the software are:

  • New features: The Pro X8 has some cool new features in its latest version. One of the biggest new editing capabilities is called the “Magic Fill” which allows you to remove unwanted objects from photos. There is also a lens correction feature which fixes distortions caused by camera lenses.
  • Quick edits: Do simple photo edits such as modify lighting, cropping, and color levels with just a click of a button. You can also edit multiple pictures at the same time in a batch edit mode.
  • Tagging and sharing capabilities: Paintshop Pro, like Adobe Elements, makes uploading and sharing photos super easy. One particular advantage Paintshop Pro has is that is uses GPS data, which allows you to geo-tag photographs.



Source: GIMP

Probably the greatest thing about GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program, is that it is a photo editor that is completely free. Beyond the price, GIMP is perfect for the beginner photographer who is looking to explore the editing field. This is an open-source software that is considered a bitmap/pixel based image manipulation program, perfect for simple edits and retouching as well as creating animations. GIMP is considered a portable app, which means that you can install it via a flash drive on any computer. The biggest disadvantage of GIMP is not in it’s capabilities but in the designer interface. But I guess you get what you pay for.

A few of the best features of the software are:

  • Plugins: This program allows free plugins and scripts to be imported into the software to improve functionality. It can even open plugins and documents for Photoshop. Just look in the GIMP Plugin Registry.
  • Basic image editing: Because GIMP was started as a free alternative to Adobe Photoshop, it has many of the same editing functions. These include the same basic editor features (crops, lighting, colors) as well as layer transparency and smart selection tools.
  • Functionality: This program can be used on all devices from Windows to Linux to Mac.