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I ♥ Picasa

Yup, I'm in love with Picasa. It's free, it's easy, and it's a dang good lil' tool. I'm not saying it can compare to PhotoShop - which I've never tried but I understand is a "MUST" for photographers - but for a free photo editor, it's my #1. It does the easy stuff, like turning an image to black & white, for example. Nothing to write home about. But, in addition to that, you can also fine tune your balance - fill light, highlights, shadows, and color temperature. Pretty slick.

Then, it'll do color saturation and "warmify" type stuff. Again, any photo editor should give you the option of "colorification", i.e., super-coloring your images. Of course, I touched up this pink flower (no clue, so sue me for not being a green thumb) because the day was overcast, so I punched 'er up a little. Then, just 'cause I had to say I'd used it, I used the "warmify" tool and it actually did the trick. It was a bit "blue" beforehand; now I think it's truly a warmer color.

Ok. So sometimes what you think something should look like and what the camera thinks are different - it's just another item to play with on Picasa.

Then, it has the power to make the image sepia or to sharpen it - I'm assuming this is the "resolution" modification magic button (try to say THAT quickly even once) because obviously it takes a photo and makes it clearer. Beware, tho', this could uber-enhance an image and make it TOO clear. That's right, it can look "digitally" if you add it to an already-clear picture. This is best for those shots where you're just a TITCH off or if you want a different effect.

Along with all the other normal tools it has - crop, straighten (a horizon, for example, which is what I NEED it for), redeye reduction, etc - Picasa also has other "fun" tools which make it somewhat of a drug. It was hard to leave the computer and stop messing around with wedding photos, when there are so many cool features to add/change. (I have NO CLUE what PhotoShop does, but I'm pretty sure it takes the cake - and doesn't eat it the next year on its anniversary - so I'm not sure how my photo buddies ever get anything BUT photography done!)

Anyway, I digress...the things of which I speak are "film grain", "soft focus", "filtered B&W", "glow" and "focal B&W". It also boasts tint and graduated tint, but I've not found use for these yet.

I do know - as alluded to previously - it's hard to step away from roughly 1,400 wedding images when you can do fun stuff like softly-focus the image on a guy with arm around his girl amidst a sea of people in a congregation or have just the bridesmaid's flowers in technicolor...needless to say, it took quite awhile to get the images back to the bride & groom.

Well, I could go on and on (but not like Celine Dion) about Picasa and how I've fallen head over heels...but I have a feeling that with my pending copy of PhotoShop looming I might soon leave this free little tool as a thing of the past.

That being said, I have to stand by my opinion that as a FREE TOOL, this little guy holds his own! I highly recommend it for anyone not able to shell out the obscene amounts of money it taks to get the "good stuff".

Way to go, Google :)