14 Downloads (Including Freebies) for Your Digital Photography Tool Kit

Are you a digital photographer? These days, aren't we all? In any case, downloads can make digital photography a lot more fun--and a lot more productive.

Plenty of downloads can help manage your photo collection, perform editing magic, share your images with others in photo albums and slide shows, resize your photos, and much more. Whether you're a hobbyist looking to take red-eye out of your kids' photos or to preserve memories in albums, or a pro in need of powerful image-enhancement and editing tools, we have something here for you.

Photo Editing Tools

Need to clean up your photos, remove red-eye from portraits, perform gamma correction, or add special effects? Lots of software offerings can help. Our list includes tools for amateurs and pros alike.

The Gimp

The Gimp photo editing software
When you think of open-source software, you might think of half-baked programs that lack power and are too hard for normal folks to use. Well, think again. This open-source image editor packs a surprising amount of power and is well designed, if a bit eccentric in layout. Even though it's free, it compares favorably to the power of Photoshop, and it includes many of the kinds of editing features you can find in Adobe's program, including filters, effects, masks, and layers.

Of course, it has the basic tools you'd expect in a photo editor, such as red-eye removal, but it offers plenty more beyond those. If you're looking for professional-level photo editing but you don't want to spend a bundle--or even a penny--this is the program for you.

Download The Gimp | Price: Free

Photo Pos Pro

Photo Pos Pro photo editing software
With photo editors, usually you can have one of two choices--either simple or powerful. As a general rule, the more simple the interface, the more basic the program, and the more powerful the program, the more complicated the interface. Photo Pos Pro does a great job of balancing power and usability. The interface is clean and simple, with all of the editing tools laid out neatly along the sides and the top of the main screen, which shows your photo. Hover your mouse over an icon, and a balloon tip will tell you exactly what it does, although in many instances the icon is self-explanatory.

The array of editing tools in Photo Pos Pro is mind-boggling. Every automatic-editing tool you could want is right there, from the basics (such as red-eye reduction) to advanced functions that automatically sharpen or blur images, make them warmer or cooler, add frames and special effects, and do many other tricks. You get drawing tools as well, plus the ability to work in layers. If you want powerful editing tools within easy reach, this application is a great choice.

Download Photo Pos Pro | Price: $50 (shareware)

XnView

XnView photo editing software
When it comes to affordable photo editing programs, nothing is better than free, particularly if the program has a reasonable amount of editing tools. And that's what XnView has. You'll be able to resize, crop, correct red-eye, flip, rotate, and perform a wide variety of image adjustments, including brightness, contrast, and gamma. The app can also convert your pictures to different image formats. XnView is not a powerful tool like The Gimp, but for most work it'll do just fine. And you can't argue with the cost.

Download XnView | Price: Free

Saint Paint Studio

Saint Paint Studio photo editing software
Looking for a simple photo editor that isn't bloated, but loads fast and doesn't require you to be a photo maven to use it? If so, you need Saint Paint Studio. It handles not just photos but also animations, and it has a surprising number of capabilities despite its compact size. You can crop, resize, correct colors, draw, add special effects, remove red-eye, and adjust color and brightness balance, for starters. Saint Paint Studio supports layers for more-advanced photo editing, too, though it doesn't have all the capabilities of Photoshop or The Gimp. People who don't demand particularly powerful features will find that this download has all that they need in a photo editing program.

Download Saint Paint Studio | Price: $40 (Trial)

Image Resizer

Image Resizer photo editing software
Need a quick-and-dirty way to resize a group of photographs? Get this free, exceptionally easy-to-use PowerToy from Microsoft. Right-click a single photograph or a group of photographs, select Resize Pictures, and a dialog box appears for you to resize the images to one of four sizes: Small (640 by 480 pixels), Medium (800 by 600 pixels), Large (1024 by 768 pixels), or Handheld PC (240 by 320 pixels). When you make your selection and click OK, it will make copies of your pictures in the new size while leaving the originals intact. If you click the Advanced button before you click OK, you can choose to resize the original pictures instead of making a copy. Warning: You can make pictures only smaller, not larger--if you choose a size bigger than the original, the program simply won't obey.

Download Image Resizer | Price: Free

FxFoto 2.0

FxFoto 2.0 photo editing software
Here's another freebie that's remarkable for the number of surprisingly powerful editing tools it puts at your fingertips. Think of a photo-editing feature, and FXFoto probably has it. Automatic red-eye removal? Yep. Brightness, contrast, and gamma correction? It has those as well. Color balance, filter effects, automated blemish removal, color brush, cloning, adding frames and borders...the list goes on.

What's also nice about FXFoto 2.0 is its interface, which creates a gallery of photos down the left side of your screen so you can easily scroll through them and find the exact one you want. Once you've tweaked your photos to your heart's content, you can create captions and then create a slide show of them, complete with transitions. (If you want to add music or narration, you'll have to upgrade to the paid version.) In addition, the program lets you create photo collages, and includes tools for sharing that collage via e-mail, uploading it to a photo-sharing site, or burning it to a CD.

Download FxFoto 2.0 | Price: Free

Cleanerzoomer

Cleanerzoomer photo editing software
Have photos that need to be fixed? I don't mean something simple such as red-eye removal, but more complex problems, such as moiré patterns and other artifacts, overall noise, and other frustrating imperfections that afflict digital photos. If you're facing such challenges, give Cleanerzoomer a try. It can also sharpen edges, automatically adjust color balances, remove white spots and other artifacts, and a lot more. You also get a remarkable amount of control over photo fixing--in fact, for some people, maybe too much. For removing artifacts, for example, you'll find a wide variety of options such as setting filtration levels and weight measurements. Still, with a little experimentation, you'll be able to clean up even the dirtiest-looking photos.

Download Cleanerzoomer | Price: $35 (shareware)

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