When it comes to digital photography, you'll find that there's no dearth of photo editing software. Yet figuring out which is best for you can be tricky. Luckily, there's one web-based program that's consistently best in a number of different photo editing categories. Here are the best tools from the free world:
Adobe Photoshop Elements. After extensively testing the top-paid photo editing software programs, Adobe Photoshop Elements came out as the clear winner for its rich yet convenient editing tools. It's widely available for both PCs and Macs, and has a very friendly learning curve for beginners. Plus, you can save a lot of money since version 5.0 is completely free. While the majority of advanced edits require some sort of payment, you won't have to spend a fortune to get started with this powerful program.
Adobe Illustrator. Perhaps no photo editor is best known by a mere mortal such as yourself, but Illustrator still deserves to be mentioned. The first few bucks spent on Illustrator might be well worth it in terms of what you'll get back in the long run. It offers a number of useful tools, such as stencils, a matrix palette, and batch processing, and provides a solid start for designers looking to refine their work down the road.
Microsoft Photo Editor. If you're looking for photo editing software that's available on both Macs and Windows, then you've got another option. This particular program is actually designed for both Macs and PCs, but is known more widely on the Windows side. You might not be familiar with all the features of Photo Editor though, so you'll need to do a little searching before deciding whether it's something you'll use. Features include AutoSave, Continuous Editing, Import/Exchange, Auto Rice, and Auto RGB Conversion.
Theano. One of the best tools out there for beginners is Theano. This is one of the more expensive programs on the list, but if you want the very best photo editing software on the market for beginners, this is it. Theano includes everything you could possibly need to make polished and beautiful photos, and even includes a video tutorial that goes into more detail on the different tools and options that Theano has to offer.
Adobe Elements. If you're looking for the best editing software for beginners, then look no further than Elements. Elements was designed specifically with photographers in mind and is extremely user friendly. Features include customizable borders and panoramas, creative tools, Auto Focus, Color Effects, and an array of other tools for creating professional-looking photos.
PhotoShop. While it's not as popular as some of the other tools on the list (some people still think that Dreamweaver is the best), it's still a great option for beginners because of its many benefits. For example, you can use the Explore tab to find and check out all of your pictures in a drop down menu, which makes it easy to share them on social media. The best part is that PhotoShop also comes free with your os x operating system, so it's easy to throw PhotoShop on and forget it.
Photoscape X. While most people think of Picasa when they hear 'photo editing software,' there's another option on the market that is actually just as good. Users of Photoscape X can get the same results that they would get from a paid version, just at a fraction of the cost. Some of the coolest tools on this program include everything from a built-in image editor to image thumbnails and document objects. If you're looking for a simple and easy way to edit your photos from your home computer, then Photoscape X is definitely the best option for beginners to start out on.