GIMP Photo Editor Overview: Is It Better than Photoshop?

GIMP photo editor is one of the most popular editing software out there. While it may never succeed in surpassing the almighty Adobe Photoshop, it’s one of the best alternatives you can find. And we’ll go as far as saying that it could very well be a better solution than Photoshop for some users.

And you may wonder why. First, because not everyone can afford spending thousands of dollar to get a copy of a post-processing program. Secondly, because you may find you do not need all the complex functions that other software have to offer.

And let’s get to the best part – the GIMP photo editor is FREE. That’s right. You get to edit your photographs without spending a dime. As an aspiring, amateur photographer, it may very well be all you need. Even professional photographer may find in GIMP the ideal photo editor.

GIMP photo editor logo

What is GIMP Photo Editor?

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. The GNU consists of a group of programmers that were willing to create an editing software for everyone – a completely free, open-sourced OS. The developers are affiliated with the Free Software Foundation.

GIMP offers many of the tools and capabilities of Adobe Photoshop. You will find plenty of filters, effects, and tools that are quite similar to those in Photoshop. However, you won’t be charged one penny to use the features.

It is typically used for things such as:

  • Retouching photographs.
  • Advanced photo manipulation.
  • Resizing graphics.
  • Creating logos.
  • Creating photo collages.
  • Producing graphical design elements.
  • Scanning pictures.
  • Creating animated GIFs.
  • Exporting graphics to a Web format.

gimp editor on windows 10 image retouching mountainscape

Why is GIMP Software Better than Photoshop

  1. Gimp is FREE.
  2. GIMP is fast and stable. If you’re running an old computer, you will notice that Photoshop will sometimes slow down up to the point of freezing. This is because Photoshop takes a lot of hardware resources while GIMP takes less hard drive.
  3. Free updates. In addition to being free to download and to install, GIMP updates are also free. Photoshop users sadly have to pay for any new changes.
  4. It handles any file format. If you want to use GIMP AND Photoshop, then it’s totally fine because the free software does not discriminate. It can handle .PSD files and many other file formats.
  5. GIMP is portable. GIMP is about twenty times smaller than Adobe Photoshop. But that’s not all. The editing program can be loaded on a USB flash drive, allowing image editing anytime and anywhere.

GIMP Tools

The GIMP editor is filled with useful features. And if you played around in Photoshop, you’ll be familiar with many of the tools. Here are the software’s main features:

  • Painting tools: brush, airbrush, pencil, cloning tool, and more.
  • Selection tools: ellipse, rectangle, bezier, fuzzy, free, intelligent scissors.
  • Transformation tools: rotate, flip, scale, shear.
  • Layers.
  • Channels.
  • Advanced scripting.
  • Plugins.

painting of a man done in GIMP using GIMP painting tools

GIMP Tips

Dive into the layers

Beginners may be scared of Layers, but will find they are one of the most useful features of the GIMP photo editor. This tool allows for non-destructive editing. Any move you make can be undone, and you can go back to the original picture anytime. Layers are transparent, and every edit you make on a specific layer will not tamper with the ones above or below the working layer.

Red eye removal

You can’t always take your DSLR out, and with a less performant camera, we are often left with the creepy “red eye” look. The good thing is, GIMP packs the red eye removal tool in the filter menu. Just select the area that needs editing, then go to Filters>Enhance, and select the tool.

Creating a watermark

Every photographer should protect their art and add a watermark to their pictures. Making one in GIMP is easy as pie. A watermark may either be a text or a logo. To create a text watermark, all you need to do is use the Text tool and draw a text bar in which you can type the text. Then tweak the Opacity slider until you get the ideal effect.

If you would rather use a logo, then open the logo and add it to the photograph as a layer. Resize and position it, then play with the Opacity slider once more to have it blend in nicely with the image.

Brushes

Just as Photoshop, GIMP photo editor comes with a bundle of brush presets. But some editing needs call out for more personalized brushes. This is why users have the option of creating their own custom brushes. The Brush sidebar features a selection of sliders that can be used to create a new brush.

Creating a GIF

GIFs are so in right now. And did you know you can create on in the GIMP editor? And it’s quite easy.

First, you need to gather all the images you wish to incorporate in the GIF file. Then, you must open the first image as a layer and continue to add the following pictures also as layers. Once you have all the images stacked up, go to Filter>Animation and choose Playback. And you’re done!

Plugins

GIMP plugin registry filter plugin

Plugins are extensions that add plenty of extra functionality to programs. Just as many others, GIMP also enjoys a wide range of extensions ranging from filters, animation tools, scripts, to a movie modifier. You can find the plugins on GIMP’s Plugin Registry web page.

Tutorials

The nice people at GIMP have thought of everything. Despite the fact that the GIMP photo editor is a free software, its functions are quite complex and may appear as overwhelming to beginners. This is why you can find tutorials that will boost your proficiency and skill level on the official GIMP website.

Saving files in GIMP editor

By default, the software will save all images as .XCF files, both on Windows and on Linux. But many would rather have the pictures saved in a .JPG or .PNG file format because it is ideal for the Web. So remember to go to the menu bar and choose File>Export as… and pick the desired format.

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Top 10 Best Bridge Cameras in 2015

Although digital technology progressed so much that it offered us DSLR and compact digital cameras, bridge cameras still remain on the market due to their exquisite market value. In other words they offer immense optical zoom while having advanced features at much more affordable prices than DSLRs. That is why we wanted to make an article on “Top 10 Best Bridge Camera in 2015″.

Modern bridge cameras can offer levels of control and speed similar to DSLRs. Other features such as wide aperture lenses, raw shooting and even Wi-Fi are also becoming more and more popular in bridge cameras. In terms of picture quality, many bridge cameras nowadays come equiped with designs bigger than 1 inch that rival even compact cameras.

Bridge Camera

1. Canon G3 X

Price: $999

The Canon G3 X packs quite a punch due to its 25x optic zoom and Canon’s very own Digic 6 image processor. This bridge camera came as a response to Panasonic’s FZ1000, yet it has its own shortcomings. Mainly the fact that the aperture drops to f/5.6 while in full zoom and also the fact fact that the camera does not support 4K. However, the camera can shoot full HD, has a large 1 inch sensor, support raw capture and an image quality with a high level of detail.

Bridge Camera

2. Sony RX10 II

Price: $1.298

This is a bridge camera that supports 4k video and that can sustain 14fps continuous shooting. The Sony RX10 II camera is a massive improvement from the RX10. It also has a 1 inch sensor and a 3 inch monitor. However, the 4K technology makes it very expensive. Another possible shortcoming might be the fact that it sacrifices zoom range for quality. In the end the Sony RX10 II is one of the best bridge cameras on the market.

Bridge Camera

3. Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ1000

Price: $769

The Panasonic Lumic DMC FZ1000 makes use of a Leica optical lense that helps users shoot in low light situations. However, this impacts the zoom capabilities of this bridge camera. It also has 4K video recording capabilities, a 1 inch sensor, 3 inch monitor, with an advanced autofocus and raw shooting. In the end you get a capable bridge camera, with 4K video recording features at a lower price than some of its competitors.

Bridge Camera

4. Canon PowerShot SX60 HS

Price: $442

This bridge camera has an incredible 65x zoom range due to its smaller senzor size of just 1/2.3 inches. It also comes packed with raw shooting capabilities and Wi-FI, altough it has to be set manually just like the eye sensor on the viewfinder. Full manual control but with lower quality pictures in dark conditions, this bridge camera is still one of the best, especially since it costs just $442.

Bridge Camera

5. Nikon Coolpix P610

Price: $367

A contender to the Canon SX60 HS, the P610 unfortunately lacks the ability to shoot raw. However, it offers Wi-Fi with NFC, but it lacks eye sensor for the viewfinder. On the other hand it has an articulating screen, 60x optical zoom a 1/2.3 inch sensor and a 3 inch screen.

Bridge Camera

6. Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ72

Price: $309

Another entry from Panasonic that has managed to remain on the marget due to its versatility and amazingly low price is the Lumix DMC FZ72. It features a higher zoom capability than that of other more expensive bridge cameras. Its 60x zoom, wide 20 mm focal length, and raw format shooting makes it a worthy competitor. However, it lacks Wi-Fi and has generally small resolution.

Bridge Camera

7. Sony Cyber Shot DSC HX400V

Price: $463

This is a bridge camera that benefits from a smaller zoom range of just 50x, Wi-Fi and even a tilting screen. Its ergonomic design makes it a pleasure to use, however it does not support raw shooting. JPEG images are supported and offer quite plenty of details and colours. Another obvious shortcoming is its low resolution electronic viewfinder.

Bridge Camera

8. Fujifilm FinePix HS50 EXR

Price: $364

This next entry comes from Fujifilm and is an overall good bridge camera. It has a shorter, 42x zoom range but benefits from shooting in raw format, a good autofocus and good image quality. Other great features are represented by its articulating screen and eye sensor for the electronic viewfinder. On the down side, it lacks Wi-Fi and the detail smoothing becomes very visible when photos are set at full size. However, for the price of just $364 it is an overall decent bridge camera, which has the feeling of a SLR due to its size.

Bridge Camera

9. Sony Cyber Shot HX300

Price: $321

The younger brother of HX400V, the HX300, borrows many features from its larger counterpart. It boosts the same 50x zoom range, 20.4 megapixel Exmor R sensor, full HD video recording and HD image quality. However it lacks some of the features that his older brother has, such as Wi-Fi and GPS location. Nevertheless, if you are content with shooting JPEG only, alongside perfect image stabilisation and a lens barrel zoom ring, this bridge camera is certainly for you.

Bridge Camera

10. Nikon Coolpix P900

Price: $610

The last entry in our list is the Nikon Coolpix P900. It sets itself apart from its competitors due to its massive 83x zoom range. It also benefits from inbuilt Wi-Fi and NFC pairing as well as an articulating screen. On the other hand, it does not offer raw formating, it is 60% heavier than most of its competitors and it also costs more. It has a standard sensor size of 1/2.3 inch, a 3 inch screen and a maximum continuos shooting rate of 7 fps. The major shortcoming that this bridge camera has is its high price. Smaller, cheaper bridge cameras with many more amazing features cost much less than this mammoth.

So there you have it, our “Top 10 Best Bridge Cameras in 2015“. Although bridge cameras face fierce competition from DSLR cameras and compact system cameras, they still manage to hold their own. Due to their balance between zoom capabilities, image quality and interesting features, bridge cameras offer high quality at more affordable prices. If you feel we have omitted one or more good bridge cameras, feel free to let us know, in the comment section below.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

How to Import Photos from iPhone to Mac

Any iPhone and Mac user might have encountered this problem at least once before. For this purpose we wanted to tackle the issue by creating a guide on how to import photos from iPhone to Mac. We hope it will prove most useful in dealing with this common matter.

In addition of creating some of the most unique and sophisticated digital devices out there, Apple Inc. has also provided a software specially devised for this matter: Image Capture. Alongside it there are also a few ways people could import photos from their iPhones onto their Macs without the aid of another software program.

1. iPhoto

The most common way of transferring photos from the iPhone onto aMac is by using the iPhoto program. However, this program can only be used by people who already have it installed. The progam unfortunately is no longer available to be installed by new potential users. Nevertheless, it envolves a few simple steps that can be accomplished by everyone. This is how it works:

  • Plug in your iPhone to your Mac.
  • Open iPhoto if it is not set to open automatically once you plug in the phone into the computer.
  • Select a destination folder by using the Download button in the menu.
  • Select the photos or videos that you wish to import. Choose the  ‘Import All‘ or just the ‘Import‘ option to selectt the photos you wish to save onto your desktop device.

How to Import Photos from iPhone to Mac

Alongside the iPhoto program there are a number of other various programs that can aid in your efforts of copying photos from the iPhone onto the Mac. These programs are: Preview, Image Capture or Aperture.

2. Using Photo Stream

Another simple mean of transferring photos from the phone onto the Mac is by using Photo Stream.  Begin by:

  • Going to Settings – Photos and Camera and toggling “My Photo Stream” on.
  • The photos will be uploaded automatically to your iCloud account, letting you to share them with other iCloud devices.
  • Go onto your Mac and set up the Photo Stream. Then click on iCloud in Systems Preferences.
  • Add the photos to your Photo Stream. Select the desired photos, tap the share button and choose the iCloud icon.

how to import photos from iphone to mac

3. Through Email

This method can allow you to send up to five photos in one email. To make use of this method you have to:

  • Go to the Photos app and select the photos you wish to send.
  • Make use of the Select button in the upper right corner for the designated photos.
  • Press the Share button and choose the email icon.
  • Type in your email address and simply send the email.

how to import photos from iphone to mac

4. Transfer Photos using AnyTrans

A popular means of transferring photos is by using the iMobie AnyTrans program. It allow greater freedom in selecting photos from a number of sources such as Camera Roll, Photo Stream, Photo Library and My Albums. It also allows the freedom to edit photos and it has an incredibly fast transfer speed. This is how it works:

  • Simply run the program and connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  • Then select the Photos option. Choose from the above mentioned Camera Roll, Photo Stream, Photo Library,  as well as Photo Share, Panoramas, Albums, Bursts.
  • Select the photos you wish to transfer. To do so simply click on the ‘To Computer’ option located on the top right corner. For selecting multiple photos make use of the Ctrl key.

how to import photos from iphone to mac

5. Image Capture

Another easy and very popular method of transferring photos from your iPhone onto the Mac is through Image Capture. It is a pre-installed app on Mac OS X Mountain Lion all the way to the Tiger version. To use it simply follow these steps:

  • Go to the Applications folder and start the application.
  • After that you will see any iOS devices that are plugged in, listed under Devices.
  • Simply drag the photos seen onto your desktop. You can also make use of the Shift button to select multiple photos.
  • Alternatively you can click on the ‘Import To’ button, located at the bottom of the window. Then simply press on the Import All button.

how to import photos from iphone to mac

6. AirDrop

AirDrop is a very versatile app, for it allows users not only to copy photos from the iPhone onto their Mac’s, but also allow videos, websites and locations to be shared. To succesfully use AirDrop you woul require a device using iOS 7 or 8 as well as a Mac with OS X Yosemite. Because the app allows for file transfers to be made wirelessly, users will also require to turn on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Nevertheless, it is recommended that users should only try to copy smaller amounts of files, due to the fact that the transfers are made via Wi-Fi. To use it, users must first:

  • Open AirDrop.
  • In the dropdown menu enable AirDrop by choosing either the “Contacts Only” or “Everyone” options.
  • Then select the images you wish to copy onto the Mac.
  • Press the Share option located near the rock bottom of the window.
  • Lastly, simply choose the Mac and the photos will begin transferring.

How to Import Photos from iPhone to Mac

 

So there you have it: 6 ways that will help you import photos from iPhone to Mac. These are the most effective ways of copying photos from the phone onto the Mac. Some require applications to be installed, others a basic internet connection. Regardless, all of them are extremely easy to use.

We hope the article proves most informative and if you have any inquiries feel free to let us know. We will reply shortly. Best of luck copying the photos!

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

Through the development of digital technology, a vast array of apps have been created for photography aficionados. We devised a list of 10 Helpful Apps for Photographers.

These are some of the best apps for photographers – both free and surcharge. They operate on platforms such as iOS and Android at the same time, or on one of them exclusively. Let’s take a look at some of these apps, which can be used by enthusiasts and professional photographers alike.

1. VSCO Cam

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

Here is an app available on both iOS and Android. Surely one of the best apps for photographers, developed by the Visual Supply Company, VSCO will aid your editing efforts. The best thing about it is the fact that it’s free.

The app allows any user to connect other photographers around the world through, you’ve guessed it, photography. The community is anonymous, thus focusing on a creative environment. To be part of it, simply install the app and create your own VSCO Journal. Other important features are related to high resolution imports, comparisons between photos before and after editing.

This is, without a doubt, one of the best apps for photographers.

2. Camera MX

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

One of the best Android apps for photographers, Camera MX, focuses on editing features. Developed by Appic Labs Corp, the app is renowned for its user friendly interface as well as its impressive editing features. It allows users to take sharper snaps, cut and trim photos to perfection. The latest version even allows to record events with “shoot the past” option. It takes pictures moments before the actual photo. Sounds difficult? We recommend installing it and testing it, especially because it is free.

3. Lensical

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

This time one of the best iPhone apps for photographers, Lensical, focuses on editing photos. It was made for larger displays and is user friendly, the simple control can be made with one hand gestures. It was developed by Apptly, LLC and it is free.

4. Qwik

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

Developed by Guillaume Babusiaux, Qwik has a vast array of options for editing photos. It contains more than 600 filters, tons of fonts and frames. Users can also connect with Qwik’s online community. Furthermore, the app gets frequently updated with new filters and features. Certainly one of those well made iPad apps for photographers, as well as for Android. Given the fact that it ofers tons of features while being free, this is a good addition for any photographer.

5. Fotor

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

Developed by Everyimagining Co., Ltd, Fotor is one of the most flexible apps for editing photos. It is also extremely versatile. Fotor allows users to edit, collage and share images. The version 5.7.0 even allows photographers to use the ‘focus‘ option. Using SLR technology, the photos can be taken with greater depth and even more clarity. Users must select a focal point and set the emulator according to personal preferences.

It is a free app for both iOS and Android platforms.

6. PicLab HD

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

This next entry is an app developed by Roberto Nickson. It is a must-have app if your an iOS user. Android users can also download it for free. The apps allows user to create inspiring photos. The app lets users to take photos or select existing ones from the personal photo library before editing them.

PicLab HD has tons of features. Fonths, size, positioning, opacity, rotation and colour are just a few features. It also makes use of layer based editing, lighting, film effects, photo filters, brightness, contrast, exposure, saturation and blur settings. Truly a versatile app for professional photographers.

7. Sktchy

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

This entry is truly a unique one. Sktchy allows users to create a portraits from existing photos, either from personal galeries or from those uploaded by other Sktchy users. Developed by Sktchy LLC and made especially for iPhone and iPad users, this app is free to download and can offer hours of fun.

8. Photoristic HD

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

One of the best iPad apps for photographers, Photoristic HD allows users to edit photos. The options available on Photoristic HD are standard image adjustment tools (exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, vibrance, saturation and white balance), color controls, black and white modes, split toning and tons of presets for quick fixes.

The app was developed by Georgii Kharchenko as is available only for iOS (iPad) users. It costs around $3. Although exclusive for iOS users, this app is one of the best on the market.

9. Photochop

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

Another exclusive for iOS users, this time for both iPhone and iPad customers, the Photochop is a very quirky and fun photo app. It was developed by Big Bucket Software and it costs approximately $1 to buy it.

To use it simply take a picture or use an existing one from the photo library, cut images into a series of tiles and have fun editing. Users can rotate, drag, and resize tiles to make a collage effect. Alternatively users can create a distorted image by warping it.

10. Handy Photo

10 Helpful Apps for Photographers

Our last entry is a photo app devised for both Android and iOS (both iPhone and iPad) platforms that can be bought for the price of approximately $1. The app was developed by ADVA Soft and is known for its user friendly interface.

An interesting feature is that the tool “Move Me” can be used to cut out objects, move, resize or flip them. We have to agree that for its price it is an amazing photo editor app. This is truly a fun app for photographers.

So there you have it, our “10 Best Apps for  Photographers” article. We hope it will prove most useful in deciding what apps are worth downloading. Price aside, personal preference & features a deciding role in picking process, as some apps may be more suitable than others. It all depends on what sort of photographer the person is.

Thank you for reading and feel free to let us know what apps you like.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

14 Tricks for Shooting in Low Light

We all know the saying that a photo is worth 1000 words. For the most part it is true, yet a photography can fail to express what you wish if not taken correctly. That is why we wanted to present an article on shooting in low light that should provide some useful tricks for all photography aficionados.

Before we begin presenting our tips there is one thing worth mentioning. One of the most important elements of photography is light. This notion most surely has been heard by readers countless times before. However, the importance of this statement cannot be exagerated.

But this must not act as a deterent when comes to shooting in low light. Instead it should make us reconsider our position. By making use of the proper techniques we could achieve high-quality photos in low light conditions.

shooting in low light

1. Orientation

It is important to know that the quality of the image will be, in no less extent, provided by the orientation in respect to the sun or the moon.

Bringing along a compass can aid in this matter. Keep in mind to observe the light path and to let yourself guided by it. This, of course, applies if you are shooting outdoors.

2. Constrictions

In low light conditions you will have to use lengthier exposures. This in turn will mean that you have to compress time into a single frame. As a result, any camera movement must be rendered to zero. A resilient tripod and a shutter will allow you to reduce camera shake.

3. Prepare yourself for Different Weather Conditions

If it is not pouring outside this might be an excellent opportunity to take some really interesting photos. However, rain shouldn’t discourage you from shooting. Just make sure you protect the camera. If a few drops reach your lens, shoot like that. This will add a dramatic effect to your final product.

4. Raw Photos

Try to shoot raw. This will allow you to adjust white balance levels during the post-processing phase. Work with a large batch of raw images and select the best one.

shooting in low light

5. Experiment with Light

In the event in which you are shooting indoors, a good idea would be to play with light sources. Try to think outside the box and go beyond ambiental light. Include different arrays of light sources. These can range from lamps and candles all the way to torches and chandeliers.

6. Proper Dress Code

Yes, you read correctly. The reason why this is a tip is that it can influence the effect of the final product. For example, if a photo is taken in a low light situation where the model has a dark outfit, the dramatic effect will be less impressive. Consider choosing pale or white outfits that can effectively reflect available light, whether it is ambient light or an experimental light source.

7. Reflectors

A reflector can be a great addition in any low light environment. It can take that very small amount of light and aim it at the image’s subject. This allows the focus point of the photo to stand out even more against its dark surroundings.

8. HDR Images

When trying to shoot portraits without a dark background a good ideea might be that of using HDR. It works by taking shots with more exposures and bringing them together into the image. Therefore, an even distribution of shadows and highlights is createddue to the combination of shorter and longer exposures. It does wonders when there are dark areas in the frame while taking shots of high contrast situations.

The camera has to be set to auto-bracketing mode. You will also require a tripod. Later on, the exposures can be combined in programs such as Photomatix or Photoshop.

9. Black and White

Who doesn’t like a dramatic black and white photo?  If you are shooting outdoors and the colour is fading switch to the black and white option. Make use of Live View mode first to preview the surroundings while having the picture style set in monochrome. This will give you a sense of what the final product will look like.

10. ND Filters

When trying to withhold details in the foreground ND filters are a great addition. If your aim is to increase the dramatic effect in low light shooting, not having to resort to them is also an option. This will enhance silhouette foreground features.

11. Composite Landscapes

Shooting at lower shutter speeds can increase darker areas. By using both shutter speeds and different aperture settings, the depth of field will increase, despite the lens’ capabilities. Suffice to say, experimenting is the keyword here.

12. Taking Time

By rushing into things the final imagery might not have the same desired level of detail. Consider having to take a picture of a sunset. If you wait right until the sun drops right on top of the horizon line the picture will have an added dramatic effect. This time of day is also referred to as “The Golden Hour“.

shooting in low light

13. Underexposure

The key concept of shooting landscapes in low light is to embrace the darkness that permeates while the last rays of light make their way onto the planet’s surface.

By doing so you allow the image to retain its natural feel as opposed to the HDR imagery granted by digital technology. Therefore, you should constrain yourself from using fill-flash and allow the highlights to maintain their natural feeling. Some areas will remain underexposed, but the end product will have an added bonus in the dramatic effect department.

14. Freedom of Movement

Quite a number of people will argue that a tripod is a must when taking outdoor shots of landscapes in particular. Nevertheless that might not apply to everyone. Indeed, if you are planning on shooting at long exposures, then having a tripod will come in handy. Unfortunately this will limit the freedom of movement while finding new exciting angles to shoot from.

In all honesty these 14 Tricks of Shooting in Low Light are but a few. There is much more to say, but this should get you started. Any photography aficionado out there would greatly benefit from them when having to shoot landscapes or portraits, both indoors and outdoors. It is our belief that they will unlock a door for further experimentation.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3