10 handy Windows tools to edit photos and videos

Who says you need a paid service or heavy software to store and edit photos? Unless you are a professional photographer trying to work on client images, there is no need to pay for a photo editing service.

Instead of wasting money, turn to your trusty Windows computer. Many free programs come pre-installed on any new PC, including photo apps.

Check out these 10 tips for using Windows’ built-in photography apps, each designed to help you show off your best shots.

Looking for professional shots or inspiration, tips and advice to achieve your own photographic goals? Check out Dreamstime for all the professional imagery and inspiration you need.

1. Slideshows

If you like sharing slideshows of recent trips, pets, family functions, or work events, turn to the Photos app or the Photo Viewer app. Both offer slideshow options and all you have to do is press a few buttons.

Windows 10 and 11 only have access to the Photos app. Type Pictures in the search bar in the lower left corner and press the Photo app when it appears. When using this application, press the three points menu at the top right, then click Slideshow.

For Windows 8.1 or earlier computers, view a slideshow of your photos with Windows Photo Viewer. Just press the big button right in the middle of the app’s taskbar.

2. Share

One of the main reasons people take photos is to share them with friends, family or followers on social media pages. Have fun with one of the free Windows apps: Photos.

Sharing is easy with Photos. Select the images you want to share, then press the button. Share button in the top menu. This option lets you share your photos in emails, copy them for social media platforms and more.

3. Rotate

We’ve all had those moments where we want to feel artistic, so we take pictures from different angles. But when we see how they turned out, we wish we hadn’t rolled our cameras.

Luckily, you can rotate these images into the proper orientation with Photo Viewer. Open the image and use the rotation control arrows.

In Photos, select the image you want to rotate and click Edit image to the left of the top menu. From here, you can use the rotate buttons at the bottom left to rotate the image left or right, or you can flip the image using the buttons at the bottom right.

4. Scrapbooks

The easiest way to find your favorite photos or specific people and events is to save images in albums that you can sort and name yourself.

If your PC is using Windows 11, any photos you upload can be placed in an album. To get started, open Photos and click Albums in the top menu. You can choose any photo or video you uploaded in the Photos app.

5. Improve

The Photos app comes with free image enhancement and adjustment tools. It’s perfect for anyone who wants their photos to really stand out.

Choose the image you want to enhance and click Edit imagethen adjustment and Filtered. You can choose the Automatic improvement option or choose from free filters.

6. Adjust

In Photos, select the image you want to adjust, click the Edit image button, and Adjustment. From here, you can use the sliders on the right to adjust Brightness, Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Vignette, Saturation, Warmth, or Hue.

Play around with these settings to get the best colors or change the focal points in your photos.

7. Selective focus

Selective focus can be one of the most useful free photo features you can get from a Windows computer. No more fiddling with blurs and overlays. Just open your image in Paint 3D.

Use Select to choose the part of the image you want to blur, then drag the picture until it was very, very small. Click outside the white space you just created, then zoom in to see the area you resized.

Picking out Select again and create a square around the resized area. Click the white dot in the opposite corner that you used to make the section tiny, then drag it back to the original space.

Yes, it’s a lot of steps, but once you understand how it’s done, it’s actually really quick and easy. You’re just pixelating the section, so it’s very blurry – normally a difficult feat without additional paid apps.

8. Burn to Disc

Remember when everyone was burning CDs? Well, many people still want digital copies of their photos on discs. If you are a wedding photographer or working on a hobby project, you can burn multiple photos to discs when using the To share tab in the Photos app.

If you’re using an older version of Windows, there’s a similar option at the top of the image you open. Just open Photo Viewer, then select the images you want and choose Burn from the menu.

9. Invert colors

Whether you’re working on a school project or just want to have a little more fun with your photos, color inversion can be a great way to accentuate the artistic aspect of your photography work or hobby. When you invert colors, you simply change light to dark or dark to light.

To perform color inversion, open your image in MS paint to quickly and easily invert colors. Go to the Select menu and choose Rectangular selection or free form selection if you want a smaller area. Draw the selection or press CTRL+A to select the entire image, right-click the selection, then click Invert colors.

10. Tracing tool

A fun way to present an image is to provide a blank black and white outline of the subject(s). To do this, use the trace tool in MS Paint. It’s also a fun way to turn any line art you come across into a color page for the little ones.

Open the Paint app, then open the image you want to trace. Use the paintbrush or pencil tool to trace over the image. This step doesn’t need to be precise since you can correct errors later.

Then use the Select to highlight the entire image, then right-click and Invert color. Save your progress as the next step cannot be changed if there is an error you wish to correct.

Go to Casethen Propertiesand select the option to change the colors to Black and white. Now invert the color of the whole image as explained in the previous section, then go back to Case and Properties. Change the Colors possibility of returning to Color and you are done.

Now that you know how to use free Windows image editing tools, go ahead and have fun!

About Debra D. Johnson

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