GIMP – Free Photoshop Replacement

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Photoshop – for those who can afford it, it’s a great piece of software.  But it can be expensive.  A fully featured version is about $700 (USD), which isn’t justifiable to many of us who don’t work professionally.  It’s bad enough our equipment, especially our lenses, cost so much.  Thankfully, photo-editing is one area of our studio where we can spend less without giving up features.  How much less?  Try free.

Free?  That’s right.  GIMP (Short for GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source software package with offerings that replace both Photoshop and Illustrator.  If you’ve never heard the term open-source (OS) before, OS is simply a development philosophy involving people programming software with shared ideas and little compensation for their contribution.  It sounds a little idealistic, but it works and it works well.  Best of all, most open-source software is entirely free, operating from donations and/or corporate backings.  GIMP just happens to be one of those.  Well, the question will arise…how good can free software be?  In GIMP’s case, there are many who prefer GIMP over Photoshop even with financial benefits aside.  It is updated regularly (last update was just this past August), and very stable and feature rich. And best of all, it’s cross-platform – available for Windows, Mac OSX and Linux (a free operating system).  So those of you with multiple operating systems in your studio, this works on all of them.

The interface is somewhat unique, with many menus and options contained within the right click menues.  But the learning curve is fairly easy.  Many users can adapt to GIMP’s interface in just a few sessions.  The software is quite powerful, and many swear by it for their photo editing.  The results easily stand up to all the popular photo editing tools, and it’s constantly evolving and improving.

To read more about GIMP and to download your own free copy, visit the website:  GIMP (product page)

To learn more about Open Source software, visit the Open Source Initiative site.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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