To progress from an average photographer to a good one you are going to need a powerful graphics editor. The only two choices right now are Adobe Photoshop ($1500) or Gimp (Free). To get you started and keep costs down we will focus on Gimp for the moment as it is every bit as powerful as Photoshop and will cost you nothing to use. How can a free program compete with an industry powerhouse ? Well, Gimp is open source, stable and mature. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and has been constantly upgraded for the last decade or so. Gimp was written by a talented bunch of programmers with the sole aim of making a kick ass graphics editor that was available to everyone.

Lets get started. Click This Link (opens in a new tab) and head over to gimp.org to download the program, be sure to expand the "show other downloads" link on the page. Choose "Installer for Windows XP SP3 or later" and you will be redirected to the sourceforge download page. Just wait a few seconds and your download will start automatically. The file size is 86Mb so depending on your connection speed you might like to go and grab an ice cold beer or bourbon while you wait.

After the file has downloaded, navigate to where your downloads land on your PC and find the icon that looks like this:

Double click the icon and confirm with windows security you want to run the file.

Select your language.

Choose Install.

Wait while the setup files install themselves and Gimp goes off looking for all your computer's fonts etc (so you can use them later to add text to pictures). It can take a minute or two and only ever does this once when you install the program.

Click the finish button to exit setup.

Drill into your program menu and make a shortcut for Gimp on the desktop. Start > Programs > Gimp > right click > Send to Desktop (shortcut). Look for the Gimp icon on your desktop.

Double click the icon and Gimp fires right up.

This is what your basic work space looks like.

Go ahead and maximise the the workspace (the large white box in the center, the others are toolbars).

Congratulations !! You are now the owner of a very powerful graphics editor.

Rock on back to the menu page to see how easy it is to use this awesome software.

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