3 Affordable Photo Editing Programs

By guest contributor Lexy Ward. Photography by Sania Pell.

With visually stimulating sites like Pinterest and Tumblr, it’s easy to get stuck in a photography rut. You want to push great content, and great content = great photos. If you don’t have the cash for software like Photoshop, don’t sweat it. There are options that are affordable, or even FREE!

Adobe Photoshop Elements
While Adobe Photoshop is the Rolls-Royce of photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop Elements is a more affordable version at almost 1/5th of the cost. With basic editing tools like cropping, layering, actions/filters, and quick selections, you can get a feel for the layout of Photoshop and how it works. Elements is a great suggestion for someone who is seriously thinking about taking their photos to the next level, but doesn’t want to commit to the cost of the full program. Try it out and get comfortable navigating the program. It’s not as loaded as the full Photoshop, but Elements can do everything a beginner usually needs.

If cost is your issue, then PicMonkey is perfect. PicMonkey is a free online editing program that doesn’t require a download. It’s fast, easy to navigate, and offers tons of filters. Once your photo is uploaded, you can get to work by tinkering with the exposure, color saturation, and adding unique filters as strong or as light as you want. You can also add shapes and text to each photo. Always re-size your photo to a smaller pixel width before editing. Larger photos tend to slow down this program.

Rollip is great if you just want to add a cool filter to your photo. What it doesn't offer is cropping or re-sizing. Just choose from forty different effects to add a vintage or edgy feel. You even have the option to download a higher resolution of your image. While Rollip has many effects to choose from, it can take a while to tweak your photos. It is definitely worth your time if you have a minute to spare for a pretty filter.

Remember: There is only so much editing you can do to improve your photos. Try to take the best photos you can before uploading to your computer. When I first started out, I took about 60-70 photos and hoped I had at least 5 quality shots. Keep at it; your skills will improve with practice. If you can take quality photos before connecting your camera and computer, editing will be a piece of cake.

Today’s post is the first in a series about affordable photo editing. Check back weekly for more detailed tips on different programs.