A challenge for all coaches and solopreneurs (especially in the startup process) is finding tools that are simple to use and don’t cost too much.  I’m a big fan of open source software when I find the ones that work well, have documentation/tutorials, and provide ongoing development and tech support.  Here are three of my favorite tools for working with photos.

IrfanView    (Windows Only)

This tool has been my favorite photo and graphic viewer since sometime in the mid-1990’s!  It is FAST, free, and does a lot of things that I use on a regular basis. (IrfanView is shareware and I do support the developer with donations now and then.)

The features list is too long to include here, but you can find them on the website on the About page.  Primarily developed as a viewer it is far more than that with batch processing and renaming for large groups of photos, and it has a good bit of powerful editing features.  In addition, it can open a HUGE list of file types when the available plugins are added. One of my favorite features is the typical crop ability that can be resized and optimized for use on my blog posts, emails, and website graphics.

For almost 20 years, I have made this my default viewer for all types of photo files. Check it out!

Photoscape  (Windows) and Photoscape X  (Windows and Mac)

Several years ago, I stumbled across Photoscape.  This tool is both a viewer and an editor and allows for some simple, yet nice, text-over-photo applications and file type conversion.  But the feature I enjoy the most is its simple ability to create collages from photos and graphics that you import. I have used this to create unique combinations of photos in a grid type display on websites, printed articles, and social media posts.

Christian Coaching Magazine Writers Needed

 The plain Photoscape version is for older Windows up to Win 7. The more recent Photoscape X and Photoscape X Pro will work on Windows 10 and Mac OS. The new X version has a bit more learning curve but is capable of more than you will probably ever need for editing work.

Paint.NET  (Windows only)

My boss asked me if I used this program in 2010.  That was my first experience with it as I scrambled to check it out.  It began as a Microsoft sponsored project to replace the basic Paint program that came with Windows.  Eventually, MS went a different direction and the developer has continued it as an open source program. This one has a bit more learning curve to overcome but is very powerful, yet easy,  on computing resources. This one will appeal mostly to my fellow geeks, but if you need to do layers and other more advanced editing, this one compares well with expensive commercial offerings.

If you need to do vector graphics editing look at Inkscape.  It is another great tool and there are decent tutorials available online to help you learn how to make it work!  Inkscape works on Win, Mac, and Linux OS! Enjoy!

Kelly Mclelland, CCMC, CTTCC, CJSS