32 Free Software Solutions For Photographers

Me... inside my Mac. (by speedesign)A while back I was contracted by Francois Auradon, he asked me if there is a frugal photographers SW list somewhere on the site.

That was a good point as software can sometimes be a big expense. Gladly Francois picked the glove up and started the ball rolling list going. This list is only the beginning, with your help it can expand to include more stuff to make photographers lives easier. if you know iof a good piece of photography software, hit us in the comments.

So here goes 32 pieces of software for the frugal photographer:

Raw workflow applications

UFRaw http://ufraw.sourceforge.net/





The Unidentified Flying Raw (UFRaw) is a utility to read and manipulate raw images from digital cameras. It can be used on its own or as a Gimp plug-in. It reads raw images using Dave Coffin’s raw z conversionutility – DCRaw. UFRaw supports color management workflow based on Little CMS, allowing the user to apply ICC color profiles. For Nikon users UFRaw has the advantage that it can read the camera’s tone curves. Even if you don’t own a Nikon, you can still apply a Nikon curve to your images.

Dcraw http://www.cybercom.net/~dcoffin/dcraw/





So here is my mission: Write and maintain an ANSI C program that decodes any raw image from any digital camera on any computer running any operating system.

That program is called dcraw (pronounced “dee-see-raw”), and it’s become a standard tool within and without the Open Source world. It’s small (about 8000 lines), portable (standard Clibraries only), free (both “gratis” and “libre”), and
when used skillfully, produces better quality output than the tools provided by the camera vendor.

RawTherapee http://www.rawtherapee.com/





Raw Therapee is a free RAWconverter and digital photo processing software.

Photo Processor (RPP)

Raw Photo Processor




A Raw converter for Mac OS X (10.4,10.5 and 10.6 only), supporting almost all available digital Raw formats made for photographers by a photographer-software engineer with unmeasurable amount of help and tutoring from my friend, professional photographer Iliah Borg. We just got fed up with those converters made by programmers for their upper management :)

DCRawUI http://www.tanis.dk/wiki/index.php/DCRawUI





DCRaw with added user interface. It allows some very very basic raw manipulations, like whilte balance (camera, auto, none), and sRGB conversion.

Image editing

Gimp http://www.gimp.org/





GIMP is a versatile graphics manipulation package. This page should help you get a taste of what GIMP is capable of. You can also have a look at our introduction page or browse through the tutorials.


Helicon Filter




Helicon Filter is a complete photo editing solution for the digital photographer.

Its easy and intuitive interface, live preview feature, and contextual help ensure an easy start in photo editing for beginners.

The program is built as step by step workflow guiding you through all post processing stages of photo editing.

Photoscape http://www.photoscape.org/ps/main/index.php





Photoscape is a fun and easy photo editing software that enables you to fix and enhance photos.

Paint.net http://www.getpaint.net/index.html





Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins.

Photo Pos Pro http://www.photopos.com/Photo-Pos-Pro-Image-Editor.asp

Photo Pos Pro




Photo Pos Pro Photo Editor is a free photo editor offers users a wide variety of possibilities in the fields of Image Enhancing and Image Editing and in the field of Computer Graphics Design. Using the editor you can perform various tasks, from simple basic tasks to complex tasks; you can edit existing images, create new works based on existing images, create new works from scratch and more.

Photobie http://www.photobie.com/index.php





Photobie is image editing software that combines features amateurs can use with advanced tools professionals will appreciate. Photobie is free for personal use with no Pro upgrade to pay for — all features are free. 

Active Pixels http://idea-systems.net/

Active Pixels




Active Pixels is a unique Image and Computer Graphics editor offering users a wide variety of possibilities in the fields of Image Enhancing and Image Editing and in the field of Computer Graphics.

EIE http://www.evanolds.com/eie.html





Evan’s Image Editor (EIE) is a free image editor that allows for editing and creation of animated or still images. It contains several GPU-powered image modifiers that take advantage of modern graphics hardware, giving you an instant preview of the effect while you adjust parameters. It also has a non-binary selection system, allowing you to “partially select” pixels and apply drawing tool and modification actions that perform weighted averages based on the selection value

VicMan’s Photo Editor

VCW VicMan's Photo Editor




VCW VicMan’s Photo Editor is a versatile image editor with an intuitive interface and a wide variety of features. This powerful application is user friendly, offering simple image editing, high productivity and easy customization.

Image Manipulation

CleanSkinFX http://www.mediachance.com/digicam/cleanskin.htm





CleanSkinFX is the most powerful automatic retouch for portraits. It smooths the skin of the object while preserving all the details and crispness of hair, eyes or background. This procedure was exclusively developed by mediachance.com

Light Artist http://www.vicman.net/lightartist/

Light Artist




Light Artist is a program that allows you to add realistic lighting effects to your photos.

PhotoFiltre http://photofiltre.free.fr/frames_en.htm





PhotoFiltre is a complete image retouching program. It allows you to do simple or advanced adjustments to an image and apply a vast range of filters on it. It is simple and intuitive to use, and has an easy learning curve. The toolbar, giving you access to the standard filters with just a few clicks, gives PhotoFiltre a robust look.

Pho.to http://pho.to/editor/





Photo! Editor is powerful multifunctional software offering a complete set of image editing tools. It contains anything a digital camera owner might need to correct or enhance their photos. You will enjoy the ultimate convenience and professional approach provided by each of the tools

Phantasmagoria http://www.develderby.com/phantasmagoria/





Phantasmagoria is a fun, light-weight image editing application. The main focus is to apply effects to images, along with the basic editing that might be required after a sub-par shoot. In other words, what most of us actually need. The image below is an example of the graphics functionality in Phantasmagoria:

Image analyzer http://logicnet.dk/Analyzer/

Image analyzer




Advanced image editing, enhancement and analysis software. The program contains both most image enhancement features found in conventional image editors plus a number of advanced features not even available in professional photo suites.

ImageMagick http://www.imagemagick.org/script/index.php





ImageMagick® is a software suite to create, edit, and compose bitmap images. It can read, convert and write images in a variety of formats (over 100) including DPX, EXR, GIF, JPEG, JPEG-2000, PDF, PhotoCD, PNG, Postscript, SVG, and TIFF. Use ImageMagick to translate, flip, mirror, rotate, scale, shear and transform images, adjust image colors, apply various special effects, or draw text, lines, polygons, ellipses and Bézier curves.

Free Morphing http://www.filesguard.com/

Free Morphing




Free Morphing creates a sequence of frames which are the transformation of the source image to target image, giving the appearance that the source image “becomes” the target. Images must be true color (24 bit) and have the same size. In the program you can create lines (the same number in Source and Target) which describe the transformation. You should create line objects in the same order on boths images. There are various viewing tools for preview morphing.   

Image Tricks http://www.belightsoft.com/products/imagetricks/overview.php

Image Tricks




Image Tricks is a freeware application for editing your photos and images using Mac OS X Core Image filters and Quartz Compositions that unimaginably transform your photos. This program also contains a powerful random image generator for creating unique backgrounds and abstract images for business cards, web design, print materials and more

Hugin Panorama photo stitcher http://hugin.sourceforge.net/

Hugin Panorama photo stitcher




With Hugin you can assemble a mosaic of photographs into a complete immersive panorama, stitch any series of overlapping pictures and much more

Image Management

Helicon photo safe http://www.heliconsoft.com/safe.html

Helicon photo safe




Helicon Photo Safe is all-in-one solution for image management.

Picasa http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/





Picasa is free photo editing software from Google that makes your pictures look great.

Sharing your best photos with friends and family is as easy as pressing a button!

IrfanView http://www.irfanview.com/





IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, 2003 , 2008, Vista, Windows 7.

Visual Lightbox http://visuallightbox.com/

Visual Lightbox




Visual LightBox JS is a free wizard program that helps you easily generate web photo galleries with a nice Lightbox-style overlay effect, in a few clicks without writing a single line of code.

Just drag&drop your photos into Visual LightBox window, press “Publish” and your own web gallery with beautiful LightBox 2 effects will open in the browser instantly!
No javascript,css,html coding, no image editing, just a click to get your gallery ready.
Visual LightBox is available as Prototype or jQuery plugin, for Windows and Mac, it is translated by volunteers to 25 languages!

STOIK Imagic 5 http://www.stoik.com/

STOIK Imagic 5




STOIK Imagic is powerful and very easy-to-use combination of photo album, organizer, media viewer, image and video editor with exhaustive set of tools for all your media needs and tasks. It has unique list of modern desired features: convenient organizing and cataloging through fast media indexing; browsing by folders, calendar, tags; powerful search by file and EXIF attributes; automatic batch enhancement; panorama and HDR stitching; RAW file conversion; video authoring; creation of games and paint-by-numbers and many more…

Visions http://www.twins-solutions.com/





Visions lets you easily view and search photos, fix flaws, apply effects, create albums and calendars, share your favorites through e-mail, prints and online sharing websites and much more, all in a cool & fun 3D interface.


AnyFound http://freephotorecovery.anyfound.com/





AnyFound Free Photo Recovery Software supports recovery of photos, images, pictures and snap shots photographs by accidentally deleted, lost or missed from Windows hard disk partitions and removable storage devices.

Exif image viewer http://home.pacbell.net/michal_k/

Exif image viewer




ExifPro is an application meant to display, manipulate and browse photographs.

ExifPro can display images in different view modes. Selected images may be copied, resized, cropped and adjusted using tools offered by ExifPro. 

ExifPro can also present information embedded in JPEG photographs (EXIF block) describing different parameters digital camera used while taking a shot.

One can create HTML albums or slide show applications using built-in generators, print images, append descriptions and tags.

Standalone viewer window offers zooming and panning, image color and aspect correction, magnifier tool, light table pane and a slide show mode.

Viewer window can be seen with a preview bar and a light table visible. Preview bar provides quick access to all loaded images, while the light table may be used as a place to keep selected images. 

Two images can be inspected side by side thanks to the split view feature. 


[image by speedesign]