Free Photo Software Part 2

This second installment of the free photo software article will deal with more special case software. All of the software mentioned here is software I have personally used, so if there is help needed with any of the software please ask me.

Photo Printing

Photo printing is very important for most photographers, and printing software which is comprehensive and easy to learn is hard to come by. Here are some of the free programs I have found useful through the time I have spent printing photos and artwork.

PhotoPrint fills the bill for a purpose built software very nicely, having a clean UI and enough options to perform most tasks easily. It allows you to load the photos you want to print and choose a layout for your selected page size, or a specified size for the photos. It then scales and rotates all of the photos to best fit the layout you have chosen. Unfortunately this piece of software isn't available for Mac.

Scribus

If you need more power, you are best turning to the desktop publishing software Scribus, which has the bonus of running on all major platforms. Scribus is very powerful software and as such loses some of the ease of use which PhotoPrint possesses. Most of the extra power that Scribus brings to the table is not useful for photographers, but rather for publications and more elaborate layouts, such as posters and postcards.

Other Software

Hugin

Hugin is a panorama stitching software that is very powerful and versatile. It's biggest features are almost fully automatic stitching of most panoramas, support for HDR panorama stitching, and a simple to use batch processor. It offers pre-programmed lens settings, easy to use corrections and manual point editing, and a useful “Tip of the Day” feature (almost as good as a full manual, which is also included). Hugin makes stitching most panoramas a breeze, with tools that allow users to manually handle even the most difficult special case stitching jobs.

Luminance HDR is a HDR merging and tone mapping program. It is understandable, though it takes time and patience to learn the work flow enough produce stunning results. It provides more options than any other free software for the purpose.

Phatch

Phatch is a purpose built batch processing tool for photography, allowing creation and saving of 'action lists'. These action lists can provide a huge range of functions, including contrast stretching, cropping, scaling, an effect plugin, drop shadow and frames. It also includes simple operators such as rename, copy, rotate and watermark. It is a powerful tool for repetitive tasks, allowing most of the scriptable functionality of PS or GIMP. It also includes a file explorer with full EXIF data displays. Phatch is available for Mac Windows and Linux though it takes some work to install on Mac and Windows.

If anyone has software that I missed, or corrections that need to be made please leave a comment, email me at sonic4spuds@callizera.com or use the contact page www.callizera.com/contact/. Thanks for the incentive from the Duluth Superior Camera Club to write this article, and thanks for the suggestions and corrections I have received already for part one.