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Dec 18 / Nick Teel

Photography Tip: Free Photo Editing Software

As promised, we want to offer to you our insight into some of the free and inexpensive photo editing software out there. Over the course of the next 4 weeks we will provide tips for, and highlight, one software program each week, giving you the pros and cons of each.

This week we chose to do an overview of Picasa, the Google based free photo editing software. Picasa is better known as a photo organization software than it is an editing tool; however, Picasa offers some great editing functions for the amateur editor or the editor with basic needs!

There are 3 main editing categories: Basic Fixes, Tuning and Effects. Basic Fixes and Tuning is what I suggest most agents will need, while effects may make photos look cool/flashy, they might not be for real estate photography. Basic Fixes include functions such as Crop, Straighten, Auto Contrast, Auto Color, and the coup de gras, “I’m Feeling Lucky.” The Tuning Tab allows you to adjust the Highlights, the Fill Light and Shadow Depth.

• Crop allows you to crop out unwanted areas in your photos, especially for getting rid of anything on the edges of your photos that might be extra junk or eye sores. On the “Export” tab it provides the option to change the size of the photos by using the slider bar or just typing in the # of pixels for the width.

• The straighten function allows you to straighten your crooked photos from your wobbliest of days or from that off kilter camera. It is a pretty simple tool to use.

• The ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button is my favorite feature of Picasa. It is a quick auto correct tool that adjusts the lighting, the contrast and it also deepens the bright and dark colors. For most of your photos this is the only edit tool you will need. I suggest combining the I’m Feeling Lucky button and the Fill Light slide bar that lightens the foreground of your exposure that may be darkened by brighter backgrounds.

• Another suggestion is to use the Highlights slide bar to adjust the bright spots of your photo. You might be most interested in using this to make white walls or white fixtures/appliances appear more vibrant.

Overall, Picasa is a pretty nifty program for those who have basic editing needs and especially for the DIY real estate agent/photographer.  Below is the before and after of a Front View I edited in Picasa:

Before editing the colors look a bit dull

Before editing the colors look a bit dull

After editing in Picasa the photo is looking a little brighter

After editing in Picasa the photo is looking brighter, sharper, and has more contrast

On this one I used the fill light and I’m Feeling Lucky tools. For those of you who have had a chance to use Picasa let me know your feelings on this program, otherwise check Picasa out and see what you think.