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The five best free photo downloads

Edit, manage and have fun with digital snaps

With the sunshine starting to peak out from behind those grey clouds, and the weather turning warmer, there's certainly a hint of spring in the air. For many of us, that means a chance to take the digital camera out and about and start snapping. But once you've captured some great photos, what are you going to do with them?

Why not use these five free downloads to edit, manage and have some fun with your snaps?

1. GIMP 2.6.11

GIMP is one of the most powerful free image editors available, and is frequently described as being a free alternative to the likes of Photoshop.

This is a highly versatile tool which can be used as a basic drawing program, but can also be employed to edit digital photographs to a professional level. Despite being free of charge, opting to use GIMP does not mean having to compromise on features. Layers, masks, channels, filters and special effects, in addition to the usual range of editing tools, are all on hand to make image editing as easy as possible.

2. MAGIX Photo Manager 10 Deluxe

MAGIX Photo Manager 10 Deluxe is an interesting graphics application that provides powerful tools to help organise, optimise, maintain and present your digital photo collection.

It's able to locate and recognise faces in photos, to a degree. However, most interesting for us was the ability to scan all your photos, automatically picking out the best and most representative images according to the criteria you specify (photos taken at a particular time.

3. XnConvert 1.0

XnConvert is a free, cross-platform, batch image converter that makes light work of converting and editing large numbers of image files in one fell swoop. It's a great way to make holiday snaps or pictures from special occasions small enough to share with friends and family by email, USB stick or even posted onto a website or blog.

With support for more than 400 image formats, and versions available for Windows, Mac and Linux, this is one of the most flexible and powerful tools available for everyday image processing.

4. JPEGSnoop 1.5.1

JPEGSnoop, as you might guess from the name, is a tiny tool that can tell you everything you need to know about JPEG images.

Much of this information is highly technical. Do you really want to view the Huffman codes and Quantization tables for a particular digital photo, for instance? Probably not, even if you're a JPEG expert. Don't let all this jargon put you off, though - look past the jargon and complexity and you'll find plenty of useful details and capabilities here.

5. FotoMix 8.0

FotoMix is an interesting tool that allows you to combine two photos to add, remove or mix elements from each.

This might allow you change the background on an image, for instance. You can take a person from one image, and add them to another (or just remove them altogether). Or you can create photo montages or collages in just a few clicks.

See also: How to share your music and photos using Twonky

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