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Do you have a whole bunch of photos that you need to have re-touched?

Just think about all those holiday snaps where the subjects are sporting red eyes, or those treasured old photos which, sadly, now have rips and tears present on them: you could try bringing out a marker pen and some tape, but the best results will be achieved by digitizing the images and editing them via a specialized piece of software…

Where to Start?

For the past few decades, image manipulation programs have advanced in leaps and bounds: some of the technology at play within these pieces of software would seem like magic to the photo retouching experts of yesteryear – let’s take a look at three of the most popular programs available on the market today so that you can decide upon what would be best for your project and budget!

Microsoft Paint

If you are after a very basic bitmap graphics program and own a Windows-based machine, you may not even need to go out of your way to install anything extra;

Microsoft Paint has been bundled with all variants of Windows since version 1.0 and has seen many enhancements over the years;

The most recent version, which comes pre-installed with Windows 7 features a wide range of editing options, in comparison with previous versions: for tasks such as rotating, re-sizing, cropping and adding text captions onto images, this program does the job very effectively, however, if you are seeking to work graphical miracles on your touch up projects, you may require a more powerful bit of software.

Adobe Photoshop

The term ‘Photoshop’ has become synonymous with pro-level image manipulation, especially when one refers to glamorous fashion magazine covers, edited news coverage or out-of-this-world scenes which seem too bizarre to be real: yeah, if it looks too perfect to be real, chances are someone will exclaim: ‘it looks like it’s been Photo-shopped!’

Adobe have done a good job, then, of becoming woven into the digital fabric of our day-to-day lives by creating ever more advanced editions of their legendary ‘Photoshop’ software: but what is all the fuss about?

Without a doubt, Photoshop is one of the most popular professional-level image manipulation programs available today: part of its success is due, in no small part, to the spirit of innovation exhibited by its’ development team and the many improvements which have been made to the software over the years;

Now in its 13th incarnation, Photoshop continues to dominate with its full feature set and powerful engine – if you can think of an effect that you wish to achieve, there is a very good chance that it can be done using this product.

The only down-side of this program is the prohibitive price-tag which it comes with: this has meant that it has become the preserve of pros and enthusiasts alone. Adobe have addressed this somewhat with their subscription-based pricing plans and the release of a cut-down version, ‘Adobe Photoshop Elements’, as well as a new Flash-based piece of software, ‘Adobe Photoshop Express’.


When you need to edit photos with pro-level results, but don’t want to pay a penny, it is time to ‘bring out the GIMP’!

In this case, ‘GIMP’ stands for ‘GNU Image Manipulation Program’: this is a piece of software with a similar feature-set to Adobe Photoshop, minus the price-tag;

GIMP is released under the GPLv3 licence as a totally free, open-source piece of software, which, unlike Photoshop, will run on Linux, as well as Windows and Mac OSX, meaning that, whatever system you own, it should be possible to run GIMP.

The fact that GIMP is free, despite its’ extensive, pro-level feature-set and full support from a community of enthusiasts makes it a popular bit of software for anyone seeking a Photo Touch Up and editing tool – sure, it might not have the most advanced features of Photoshop yet, but the beauty of an open-source tool such as this is the fact that hundreds of developers the world over are constantly seeking to improve the program as time goes by!

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Posted by Bobby Singh

Bobby Singh is a photo-enthusiast who loves nothing more than deploying his photo touch up techniques to restore tired old photographs into beautiful new works of art.

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