Many digital cameras come with a utility to download photos from your camera to your computer. Oftentimes, the photo editing software that came bundled with your camera either falls short of being effective for post-production work flow, or you were given a trial version of a fairly expensive software application. As an alternative, many people buy an off the shelf photo package that may cost nearly as much as the camera itself. There is a solution that will cost you absolutely nothing except a little bit of time with a software application called GNU Image Manipulation Program, known more affectionately as GIMP.
GIMP is available for free for Unix, Windows, and Macintosh. This is not a scaled-down version of a costly application and there are no limitations to using the program. You may be wondering how good could a free software package be. After all, if it were that good, why wouldn’t they charge for it? That is an excellent question and I am very glad you asked. GIMP was originally packaged for the Unix open source environment, which means a global effort was made by very talented programmers to build and package the application. This was a truly altruistic effort and the package was never intended to be placed on the commercial market.
If you have used Photoshop in the past, then you will immediately notice how familiar GIMP feels. The toolbox, layers, and channels are relatively in the same locations as you are used to. A quick tour of the menu functions and you will find everything where it belongs and very similar language. It is almost like traveling between America, the UK, and Australia; they all speak the same language, but it takes a little bit to get used to.
The GIMP package not only feels like Photoshop, it also behaves very much the same as well. GIMP will suit most of your post-production editing that you will most likely need. For instance, you can add layers to edit elements, use curves and levels to make quick color fixes, apply masks to edit and copy elements, apply a variety of filters, remove red-eye, crop, you name it, you can do it with GIMP.
Are you sold on GIMP yet? I hope so, because you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by using this application.