There are good, free tools available that are easy enough for anyone to use to do minor fixes to their photographs including: straightening, cropping, red eye removal, lighting and colour adjustments.
Picasa is an free, easy-to-use application available from Google. Most people should find this application easy to use.
Advanced users will soon want to use something more advanced with additional features though.
If you have the need of more extensive adjustments or edits, you'll probably be choosing between an Adobe product
(Creative Suite / Photoshop), the GIMP or another graphics application package. Ideally, you'll have at least a few
of these applications to work with. The GIMP is a good tool to have in your belt, because it is multi-platform and free. The concepts behind the graphics programs are all similar, so as long as you don't just memorize keystrokes, you should be able to transfer your knowledge easily between these applications.
Which Application Do You Need?
If what you're looking for is to organize and do some very basic things with your photos, e.g. straightening, cropping, red-eye elimination, colour adjusting & simple effects, then
Picasa may be what you are looking for.
See the Picasa Tutorial for more information.
If, on the other hand, you are looking to do any of the following:
... Then you probably are looking for a graphics application & editor such as the GIMP. See the GIMP Tutorial for more information.
- Advanced editing techniques (removing or adding elements, eliminating or minimizing noise, scratches, etc.)
- Adding text captions, borders, drop shadows, copyright notices
- Emulating traditional photographic film processes
- Other advanced / custom special effects