I know PhotoShop is excellent software (my sis swears by it and is well-versed in using it). Drawback....it is expensive! Yes, there are toned-down, cheaper versions of PhotoShop, but if I'm going to shell out the $$$ I don't want to start playing around and realize that it's missing something I want. If you're going to be doing a lot of photo editing, perhaps it's a good option, but I couldn't make the commitment. Buyer-fear and my sister is a 2 day drive from me so if I get stuck, she's not there to rescue me!
The photo editing software I eventually purchased is certainly a topic for a future post, but what I wanted to illustrate is that the free stuff isn't without worth. In fact, I use Microsoft Picture Manager before editing with my other software. It's not that my other software can't do something that Picture Manager can, but it's just so easy that I've over-looked learning it on the new software. I'm bad, I know, and eventually I'll learn it.
If you checked out my "Wordless Wednesday" post yesterday you'll see 5 pictures as I went through the editing process to correct a fairly faded family photograph. Here's the original photo and the first adjustment I made:
A pretty noticeable difference isn't it? I did it by clicking one button on Picture Manager...the "auto correct" button...and I'm not joking. That is the difference that one, uneducated click made in recovering this picture. Keep in mind that I scan all of my pictures at 600 d.p.i. (at least). You want as much detail as possible.
I use my Picture Manager to rotate, crop (which I don't often do with genealogy pics like this one), adjust color, contrast, and remove red eye. The tools that come with the program are supposed to be simple. Just remember not to hit "save" if you aren't happy with your finished product!