Picasa, Google’s free photo-editing software, recently became available for Mac users (running OS X 10.4.9 or above). It has a few nifty features that iPhoto (or iPhoto ’08 at least) doesn’t and is very easy to use. It’s got all the basic editing tools – crop, straighten, remove red eye, convert to black and white, convert to sepia, and so on that you’ll also find in iPhoto. The extras in Picasa include adding a a gauzy glow to your photos, adding a graduated tint (useful for sky portions of photos), and adding focal black and white (allowing you to keep one part of the photo in colour and covert the rest to black and white). Plus something simple I always wished iPhoto would do – allow you to add text to a photo. In Picasa there’s a button right there under “basic fixes” that says “add text” and that’s how easy it is!
You can also create collages (like the one at the top of this post), mosaics, contact sheets, & fun multiple exposure shots with the click of a few buttons (see below). It’s all very easy to use and I think would be a great fit for someone looking to do a bit of easy editing to family photos (you can upload them to Picasa Web Albums with the one click too). The organisation system for photos in Picasa is perfect for this as well, allowing you to either import photos direct to Picasa or import them using another program and put them in your own folders where Picasa will then find them. It will also show all your iPhoto folders (although you need to make a copy of an iPhoto photo before Picasa will allow you to edit it).
If you’re someone who takes lots of photos of little Davey playing softball or your beloved husband building the new garden shed and want a simple easy way to clean the photos up, jazz them up, & get them up on the web then Picasa is probably a perfect fit for you. If you want more control over your editing process (adjusting levels, exposure, etc) then it’s not for you.
You can download Picasa for Mac here and it’s also available in it’s original Windows incarnation and for Linux (Mac & Linx versions are still in beta).
Contact sheet, very quick and easy to create.
Framed mosaic, background colour & size of gaps can be easily adjusted.
Multiple exposures take just one click to create once you’ve selected the photos to use.