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SOHO Business Solutions: Free Image Editing Software

Three free software packages to help Small and home office owners manage graphics and image editing tasks.

Image editing software (also called graphics software) is a must-have for any SOHO (small office/home office) business.  Many small office owners take the do-it-yourself (DIY) route for creating business images, logos, flyers and pamphlets – and good software can help you maintain a professional look when designing for print and Web.

Recommended Reading: SOHO Business Solutions: Office Productivity Software.

3 Free Image Editing (Graphics) Programs

For small businesses, particularly those on a tight budget, the cost of purchasing image editing software can be expensive. Here we take a look at five programs that you can use to create or edit your digital images, completely free.

1. GIMP – The GNU Image Manipulation Program

Initially designed for Unix and Linux, GIMP also runs on Windows-based systems and is a free and open source image editor that provides small businesses with a free and easy way to  edit photos and author images. GIMP features include a gradient editor, blend tool and anti-aliasing.

GIMP also offers complete manipulation tools for rotating, cropping, scaling, a foreground extraction tool, and multiple selection tools. The GIMP website provides visual tutorials, and a registry of plug-ins, scripts, and images that the development community have contributed to help you get started.

2. Paint.NET – Free Software for Digital Photo Editing

Another free image and photo editor you can try is Paint.NET. Originally developed as a free alternative to the Microsoft Paint software that comes with Windows, Paint.NET is a free image editor with a nice tabbed document interface that displays thumbnails for easy navigation.  If you are working with small business ecommerce product shots, you'll have access to tools to help you adjust the look and feel of the images and include special effects such as blur, sharpen, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and emboss. Paint.NET also offers a set of editing tools for drawing shapes, a curve tool, magic wand, clone stamp, eraser, gradient tool, a basic text editor, and a recolor tool.

3. Picasa – Organize, Edit and Share Photos

Picasa is free software offered by Google that lets you organize all the photos on your computer, edit  photos, add effects and also share the images.  The first time you run the program you'll be prompted to scan your computer for pictures so Picasa can organizing every single image file on your system.  Within the program you can do some basic editing functions, including crop, straighten, red-eye removal, change color, change the lighting and add effects like soft focus, tint and glow. Other feature include creating screensavers, slideshows, collages or even movies using digital images.  You can also upload and share images to Google+ using Picasa.

Recommended Reading: SOHO Business Solutions: Accounting and Finance Software.

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