“I love the people I photograph. I mean, they’re my friends. I’ve never met most of them or I don’t know them at all, yet through my images I live with them.” - Bruce Gilden
Editing photos has become an important part of many people’s professional and personal lives. Thanks to the various functions and features in photo editing software, you can remove imperfections from family photos or resize photos.
There are several programmes on the market including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom, and GIMP. The latter is a free photo editor that has a number of advantages.
More and more Brits are learning how to edit photos.
With so much competition about, why should you use GIMP to edit your photos?
In this article, we’re going to have a look at a few of the reasons!
GIMP, a Free Photo Editing Programme
Are you interested in cropping, layers or filters? Not really got the budget for a photo editor like Photoshop or has your free trial run out?
Don’t panic! GIMP is here to save you.
This free image editor is perfect for retouching photos! Short for GNU Image Manipulation Program, GIMP was launched in 1984 by two Berkeley students Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis. 35 years later, this photo editing software is still one of the pioneers.
The reasons are simple: it’s free and, therefore, accessible regardless of your budget. Inspired by Adobe Photoshop, it’s designed to look as much like the famous programme as possible, with all the same functions and settings. There are tutorials available if you need some help with it.
GIMP was successful thanks to the fact that it was and still is free. You can download using any browser and you can easily crop and adjust the contrast and colours of your photos.
Though not free, there's also Adobe Lightroom.
GIMP, an Easy-to-use Photo Editing Package
With an interface inspired by Photoshop that hopes to convert users to the cause, GIMP is intuitive and easy to use.
You can download it very quickly as it’s a small package, bugs are rare, and you can always quickly use it to modify your snaps.
GIMP has a clean interface and it won’t take you very long to master some of the most common features, you can use it for photo manipulation on a variety of digital image formats.
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Understanding the Menus in GIMP
To effectively use GIMP, you just need to learn your way around the menus, which are fairly intuitive. These menus are a gateway to the settings and functions you’ll need to touch up your photos.
Among the menus, you’ll find:
- File: This menu allows you to save, open, and print files as well as create entirely new ones.
- Edit: Here you’ll find options such as undo, redo, fill a layer with a given colour, copy, and paste.
- Select: You can use this menu to check part of an image and the other related features.
- Display: This menu allows you to add a grid, adjust the windows, or align certain toolbars.
- Image: Here you can see all the information pertaining to the image that you’re working on, crop it, duplicate it, or various global settings.
- Layers: This menu, which we’ll go into more detail on in a bit, allows you to change the style of layers, add them, or alter them.
- Colors: Here you’ll find everything you could possibly want for altering the colours in your images.
Tools: Here you can find tools like zoom or brightness.
- Filters: This menu includes all the effects you can add to an image like blurring, pencil effect, or rounding edges.
- Windows: Here you can configure your workspace and create your own toolbars.
- Help: Here is where you’ll need to go if you’re having any problems with the programme.
The menus are intuitive and you can quickly find what you’re looking for when editing your images or photos. While this is free, you can get professional photo quality with this programme.
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Understanding Layers in GIMP
Often overlooked, the layers in GIMP are an important part of the programme. If you’re already familiar with Photoshop Elements, you’ll understand what layers are used for.
In short, a file, whether it’s jpeg, raw, or gif, includes several layers, one on top of the other. As you can image, the layer on the top will be the one you can see the most of. Thanks to layers, anyone can begin editing photos.
A layer is made up of different elements which can include text, images, effects. In short, whatever you can do to an image. It’s the magic behind photo editing.
In GIMP, there’s no limit to how many layers you can use and the “Layers” menu is dedicated to using them. This is where you’ll find all the relevant functions for working with layers and you can make collages or precisely edit photos with them.
The Different Tools in GIMP
Just like other free photo editing software, GIMP has plenty of interesting tools and options for altering photos. There are many different levels of tools that can transform certain snaps into works of art. Of course, this depends on the user, but the programme certainly helps.
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Of all the tools that GIMP allows you to use, some of the most significant includes:
- Selection tools that allow you to work on a certain part of a photo.
- Shape and colour tools: These allow you to alter certain aesthetics of the photos and text and make the photos more personal.
- Transformation tools: These allow you to rotate, align, and scale photos.
- Navigation tools: These include zooming or default colour.
- Retouch tools: This group of tools includes ways to improve the overall quality of your photo like its sharpness.
- Colour tools which allow you to choose certain shades from the whole image.
As you’ll have understood, GIMP is a goldmine of useful tools for editing or retouching photos. It’s easy to use and in a few clicks, you can make your photo just as good as you could in products that you have to pay for.
It's also worth trying Adobe Photoshop CC as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.
On a Mac?
Consider using Aperture.
GIMP, a Versatile Image Editing Tool
GIMP, as a free programme, doesn’t have as many features or plugins as some of the other programmes on the market. However, there are a good number of tools that anyone could use in order to make their images better.
Whether you’ve got a PC or a Mac, you can make use of GIMP.
Firstly, one of the major benefits of GIMP is the various filetypes you can edit including hdr, gif, jpeg, and png. There are a few file types that aren’t supported by this programme.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of freedom when using GIMP as it’s created and supported by its community. This community improves the programme as well as creating the plugins that any user can access.
This all makes GIMP very versatile and useful for anyone who’s looking to retouch their photos. Some of the most important functions developed by the community include:
- Darktable, which allows you functions with other formats such as raw files.
- Liquid Rescale. This allows you to rescale only part of a photo or image.
- Pandora can be used to make a panoramic image.
- Wavelet Decompose smooths out the graininess from a photo.
- And many others!
You can download GIMP very quickly and start playing around with all the useful plugins created by the community.
Who said photo editing was just for the pros?
Removing red-eye, adding digital photo effects, improving a screenshot, altering the white balance, removing blurs and blemishes, adding tilt-shift, and other types of photo enhancement can all be done using this powerful programme.
If you need help with photography, you should consider getting help from a private tutor. There are private tutors on Superprof offering face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Face-to-face tutorials are the most personal and have you and your tutor working together for the whole session. Of course, this bespoke service comes at a cost, making it the most costly type of tutorial available.
Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials with the main difference being that the tutor isn't physically in the room with you. Thanks to services like Skype, a tutor can teach you remotely using a webcam and an internet connection.
Finally, there are group tutorials. In these types of tutorials, there are several students and just one tutor.
So are you ready to start editing your photos?
GIMP is one of the photo editors that won't break the bank.