Windows 8 ships without a built-in photo editing application, and its Photos app is rudimentary to say the least. If you want to manage and edit your images in Windows 8, you need to find and download software to help out. We'll show you how to organize and edit your images in Windows 8.
Get to Know the Photos App
The Photos app that comes with Windows 8 is good for viewing your images from various sources in one place, but it's all but useless for anything else. To launch the app, press Windows + Q and then type Photos, or you can launch it from the Start screen. The Photos app automatically pulls all your images from the My Pictures folder, SkyDrive, Facebook and Flickr, as well as from other network locations.
Figure 1: The Photos app, which ships with Windows 8, is little more than an image viewer.
You can view your images three ways: by folder, by date or as a slideshow. To see your options for working with your images, right-click an empty part of the screen or press Windows + Z to display the app bar. You can select an image, and then right-click and choose Set As > App Background to make it the background image for Photos.
You can also use Photos to import images from a flash drive or camera card, but it doesn’t have any editing features; you need some other software to crop, rotate and otherwise fix your images. In short, you may find that Photos isn't much use at all.
Photo Gallery, Windows key tool for organizing and editing photos doesn't come with Windows 8, but you can download it. Windows Essentials 2012 collection of tools includes Photo Gallery.
Photo Gallery automatically recognizes and imports photos in the My Pictures and My Videos folders, and you can add additional images from other folders on your drive. It will also manage the import process when you attach a camera card or an external drive to your computer.
You can use Photo Gallery to tag images, edit them and to share them via Flickr, Facebook and YouTube. To tag (keyword) images, use the tools on the Home tab, and later on you can find the images by clicking the Find tab and search for them by the tag name.
Double-click an image to open it in the editor; now you can crop and straighten it. You'll find buttons on the ribbon for making adjustments, such as retouching the image to remove imperfections, automatically adjusting the image, fixing red eye and adding effects. Click Fine Tune to open a panel on the right, where you'll find advanced tools – such as exposure, color and sharpening.
To finish editing, click Close file. The image will reflect any changes that you made to it, and Photo Gallery also saves the original unaltered image.
3 Photo-editing Apps for Windows 8
You can add to your photo editing capability by downloading additional Windows 8 apps from the store. There are a few good apps already available and you can expect more to be launched over time.
Figure 2: Fotor, a smart photo-fixing and photo-enhancing app, won’t cost you a penny.
One app to look for right now is Fhotoroom for Windows 8 and RT. It's not a fully featured editor, but it includes tools for basic photo fixes such as rotating and cropping an image. You can adjust image exposure and color, and you can apply filters to the image. The application is available in two versions: free and a for-fee version with more features.
Another app, Perfect 365, is a great tool for giving portraits a makeover. You open an image and set markers on the face to identify eyes, nose, mouth -- and so on. Then you can click to adjust the facial features, to add makeup and to remove unwanted lines.
Fotor is a free alternative to Fhotoroom. It includes a range of basic fixes and other tools such as borders, effects and tilt shift. Fotor is easier to use than Fhotoroom; its features are easier to find and you can use all the features in Fotor. The free version of Fhotoroom includes all of the Pro tools, but you can't actually use them. Fotor also has a set of collage templates you can use to assemble multiple images into a single image.
Regardless of whether you're using Windows 8 RT on a tablet or Windows 8 on a laptop or desktop there are plenty of tools that you can use to edit your images even in these early days of Windows 8.
Helen Bradley is a respected international journalist writing regularly for small business and computer publications in the USA, Canada, South Africa, UK and Australia. You can learn more about her at her Web site, HelenBradley.com
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