Thank goodness I have Picasa! I’ve been editing very old black & white print photos to save digitally and to include some in a family history book I’m putting together. Photoshop costs money and has too much of a learning curve for my druthers. Picasa is a free download with almost no learning curve, perfect for the simpler things I need to do. Unfortunately, I learned it has been discontinued by its owner, Google, in favor of Google Photos, which is NOT AN EDITOR! However, you can try downloading a free version of Picasa from Filehippo.
Last month when I visited my dad, he pulled out a stack of photos from as early as 1910. Many important photos needed all manner of fixing, from overexposure to the subjects being too small to see them very well. From experience, scanning the photos on our printer and then cropping them out of their 8.5×11-size scan page resulted in too small resolution to print out well for book quality. So I took close-up photos with my Nikon, then uploaded them to Picasa to tweak. Cell phones that take higher resolution photos would work, too, just upload directly to computer.
With Picasa, I straightened the photos I took (turning some right-side up first), then cropped to remove extraneous white edging or the background table I had set the photos on. Cropping an original photo itself could also focus more closely on the subject people, in effect making them larger. I was able to correct for overexposure or lighten too-dark photos. I could change the color temperature to remove any yellowing hue. Some photos I had to really work with, adjusting and re-adjusting. In the end, I had clearer photos with resolutions near or above 1MB, vs the lower KBs if I had scanned and cropped.
My dad also pulled out a big box of slides from photos he had taken in Japan in the later 1950s when he was stationed there in the Army. He had a slide-to-digital converter that connected to his computer, so I could place up to three slides (or one strip of negatives) into its tray and the pictures would appear on his computer screen for me to save as .jpg photos. His is an old and simple model; the new ones seem to all have their own screen to see the photos without having to connect the converter to a computer. I have quite a job ahead of me to save (and edit) all those slides, and I will be using some for my dad’s memoir, separate from the family history book.
I use Picasa for many of the photos I take, including exporting into a resized low-resolution photo to then post on social media. It will also allow you to put a watermark on your photo to claim it. I can’t forget how years ago an American family found their family photo on a billboard ad overseas. Lower resolution (less than about 60KB) means no one can steal a photo you post and create nice prints from it – and may prevent the news media from being able to grab and post a clear photo of you if you happen to be newsworthy in a bad way. Below is an example of an original photo and its Picasa-tweaked version. If you know of other good free photo-EDITING programs, please leave a comment.