You’ve got your camera, and you’ve got your photos, but unless you’re Annie Leibowitz or Anton Corbijn, those photos are likely to be less than perfect. The Duo took a look at two image-editing-and-management programs–one for PC, one for Mac–that not only can make your photos more alluring, but do so for the alluring price of free.
Almost, anyway. The Mac contender, IPhoto 5, comes bundled with newer machines or is available as part of the $79 ILife package. For the PC crowd, there’s Picasa 2, available free for the downloading. Both offer very simple, smart controls that handle the kinds of tasks people want to do to fix their photos–removing red-eye, correcting crooked shots, cropping out unwanted elements in an image.
Both have a one-click, fix-everything feature. In IPhoto it’s called Enhance, while in Picasa it’s called I’m Feeling Lucky–a nod to the Google mother ship, Steve points out.
Angela was floored to find that when it came down to that single-click option, Picasa performed better than IPhoto, which left her photos oddly ruddy and dark. Truly a man-bites-dog moment, Angela reminds the viewers (all too aware of the tendency of a certain portion of the Mac community to take crayon in hand in response to such statements)–the Mac is usually far better at image handling than the PC is designed to be. And yet there was no harm done: both programs offer a simple undo command for changes, so she was free to try again with IPhoto’s other tools.
Picasa has a few more filtering options than IPhoto, though most of those are quirky choices such as Warmify. Both have burn-to-DVD options, and both let you do simple photo sharing. Steve felt IPhoto showed superior strength in its integration with e-mail, IMovie, IDVD, and .Mac. Angela agreed, but noted that Picasa integrates with Google’s other properties: Gmail, Blogger, and Hello, which allows an IM-like picture-sharing functionality.
Both packages also manage photos. Picasa works with whatever files and folder you’ve set up in Windows, while IPhoto lets you sort your photos into virtual albums without actually making you move them on the hard drive. Whichever system you’re already comfortable with is likely to be the one you prefer. And whichever you prefer, you’re getting a bargain–and a great piece of software. Who can argue with free?
Angela: SAVE both (and hold the mail, Mac fans)