There is a wide variety of image editing and publishing tools available. Included here are many excellent free and low cost options.
While the cost of using Photoshop has come down, it is still not affordable for most schools and students. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives that won't cost you a cent, including the 10 listed here. While they might not rival Photoshop for outright power, they bring simplicity, speed, convenience or one-click effects that you just don't get with Photoshop.
Paint.NET is a free(!) image and photo editing program for Windows PCs. While not as "feature rich" as PhotoShop, it does a great job and loads faster than many of the other programs. An active and growing online community provides a wide variety of "plugins" to address specific editing needs. You'll find friendly help, and extensive tutorials.
This is our webmaster's go-to program for quick edits and image adjustments.
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, cross-platform image editor available for Linux, OS X, Windows, and more.
GIMP can be used by graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, and scientists. It provides sophisticated tools and can further enhances with many customization options and 3rd party plugins.
GIMP vs Photoshop
This video takes a quick look at the pros and cons of both Photoshop and GIMP.
And good news! GIMP version 2.8, mentioned in the video, is now available.
- YouTube URL
Pixlr, among other things, has simple and advanced photo editors you can use right on your web browser.
They also make cell phone apps and desktop versions available for a nominal fee. Worth checking out.
Adobe Photoshop has been the gold standard for photo editing and manipulation, with a price to match.
This link looks at the various Photoshop and Photoshop Elements offerings based on the tasks you need to perform.
Adobe is now providing their products as an on-line subscription (Creative Cloud). You pay a small amount per month, and can download and install the latest Adobe applications on your local computer.
While Adobe offers an attractive education discount, it would still be prohibitively expensive to provide separate copies for each student. However, installing Photoshop on one or two workstations in the photo lab might be an option.
A good alternative to Photoshop is Corel's PaintShop Pro. While not the gold standard, it provides many of the same features and can be easier for schools to purchase (one-time fee vs. a monthly subscription).
Our webmaster has used PaintShop Pro for many years with great results.
Glogster is a social networking tool for interactive posters with text and videos.
Print Shop Deluxe, from Broderbund, has been around for over 27 years. It includes easy text and layout tools, fun clip art and templates, and great photo editing tools ... everything you need to explore your and your students creative side. Great for creating cards, signs, calendars, and newsletters.