Photo-editing for your blog

There are many tools available for editing photos, and most of them are free or nearly free. Photoshop remains the gold standard, and knowing how to use it is essential for certain specialized newsroom jobs. But for posting photos to your blog, or to a community Web site, you may never need more than iPhoto (on Macs) or whatever free software comes with Windows.

Today we’re going to spend a little bit of time working with Picnik, a free online photo-editing program that you’ll find in the blogroll on our class Web site. You will need to register. (If you use Firefox on your personal computer, you should try out the free Picnik extension, which lets you work on a screen image.)

You’ll find the photos we’re going to edit today in my Flickr photostream. We’re going to deal with the first four.

You may find there are other photo-editing programs that suit your needs better. Two are in the Photoshop family. Photoshop Elements is a much cheaper version of Photoshop that lets you do most, though not all, of what professional graphic artists need to do. Photoshop.com is a free, online program similar to Picnik.

Google offers a free program called Picasa 3 that works on both Windows and Macs. This is not to be confused with Googles Picasa Web albums — it’s a program you download and install. It’s getting some good reviews, and may be worth investigating.

Finally — and this is not for the faint-hearted — there is a free, open-source program called GIMP that supposedly has all the functionality of Photoshop. If you don’t mind diving deep into the innards of your computer, and you want the power of a professional-strength photo-editing program, you might want to check it out.

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