31 Days: Day 19

I'll admit, I love free. No, I'm not going to bring home garbage or collect phone books, but I sure will put a little elbow grease into a dresser I find on the side of the road if it has potential...

But I digress (can you tell I'm itching for another DIY?)
Today we're going to talk about some free photo editing software I've have a great time using - Picasa.

It's very basic software, but can be a powerful launching off point if this is your first time trying out photo editing software. Showing is better than saying, so I'll take a picture from this 31 Days challenge and run it through Picasa for you...

Here's where you would start in Picasa. It's called the "Basic Fixes" section. Here you can crop your picture, tilt it if things look crooked, and remove red-eye. Very simple and very handy (it looks more complicated than it is).

Next is the "Tuning" section - my favorite. Here you can mess with the lighting and white balance of your picture. I almost always boost the highlights and shadows in my pictures and will often slide the "color temperature" to make things look bright and sunny. See the difference already?

Then we get into the fun stuff - the "Effects" tab. I'll just go through some of my favorite actions, all of which you control with sliding bars, making it very very easy to experiment without having to know exactly "what" you're doing :) 

Saturation is almost always on my list of actions. It just pumps up the vibrancy of the color. 

I also like to tint the picture with high color preservation (sounds complicated, but I'm just using the terms on the screen), which can help with the clarity of the colors. I'll be honest, I don't know why ha.

Finally, I'll add some glow for a little softness and brightness. 

Before and After for good measure!

You can go further with other actions if you want. Here I've added some focal point black and white and some soft focus around the edges.

Artsy huh?...
AND Totally easy peasy! If you're feeling overwhelmed, don't worry - it's always easier to try it out than to look at screen shots. You can do it, I promise.

This is getting long, but I wanted to go over a few basic pros and cons.

1. It's FREE
2. It's connected to your other google applications (if you use them) - This is especially convenient for blogger users. You can add pictures straight from your web-synced albums!
3. It's easy to use

1. Limited editing control - This is just basic editing, so you don't have all of the bells and whistles you would have in Photoshop or something like that.
2. You have to store your pictures on your computer in one place - Once you've stored and edited your picture in Picasa DON'T MOVE IT! If you haven't exported the new version, you will loose all of your changes and your web-synced picture will disappear. This part of things is kind of annoying to be honest... 

So there you have Picasa in a majorly summarized form. Be sure to ask questions in the comment section if there's anything you want me to go into more detail on! So much to cover...


  1. I so need to learn to take better pictures and then actually edit them. It's all part of the new year plan - thanks for posting these tips and stopping by my blog earlier. Liz

  2. I just ran a few pictures through photoshop. Picasa option came up....I closed it. Now that I have read this, I will use that one. By the way, several of my photo's needed "messing" with, but I am slow....so I only did a few. If you pop by my blog tomorrow, you will see where I lost patience.