Photography tips for Chicago parents: GIMP- Adobe Photoshop Alternative


A professional photo editing program like Adobe Photoshop can easily cost you hundreds of dollars. So I went on a search for a comparable alternative and surprisingly found one, for FREE!

GIMP- (GNU image manipulation program) can be downloaded here. It works on several operating systems including PC and MAC. All you need is a little extra space on your computer and images to play with!

I was personally shocked at all the features GIMP has and how similar it is to Adobe Photoshop. Here are some basic instructions to turn a color photo to a true black and white photo.

--Justina Olenick


Step 1

Once GIMP is installed on your computer, locate the photograph you would like to manipulate by clicking FILE>OPEN.


Step 2

After your image has opened, go back to the toolbar on top and click COLORS>COMPONENTS>CHANNEL MIXER. Make sure monochrome and preserve luminosity are both checked. You will notice your image is now in grayscale in the preview box.


Step 3

If your image appears a little flat like mine, you will need to experiment by adjusting the red, green and blue sliders. These sliders control the amount of that color being mixed with the rest. This gives you the ability  to create a more dynamic black and white photograph.



Step 4

If you are still not completely satisfied with the amount of contrast in your photograph, head back to the toolbar and click COLORS>LEVELS.


Slide 5

Under input levels you will see three triangular sliders which represent your shadows>midtones>highlights. Start by adjusting the midtones. Moving the slider to the right will darken the midtones, while moving it to the left will lighten them. Make sure the preview box is checked so you can watch your progress.


Step 6

In the event that you would like to go for the look of an older photograph (sepia) head back to your toolbar and click COLORS>COLORIZE.


Step 7

Start by adjusting the hue slider. I started by adjusting my hue to (37) which gave the photo a very orange tone.


Step 8

Next, adjust the saturation slider of that hue. I used (14) and was very happy with the resulting image. If you'd like to give your photograph a film-like effect, you can simply add some grain by clicking FILTERS>NOISE>RBG NOISE. Be careful with this feature as you can easily add too much grain. This step will enhance both black and white and sepia toned images.

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