Free software for the digital darkroom
Some of the best things in life are free, including these nifty programs and utilities to help you in the digital darkroom. Programs include those to edit and enhance digital images, to view and organize them, and even to help recover digital files you may have deleted. All programs were free and available at the time of posting.*
Free photo editing, organizing and viewing software
ArcSoft RAW Thumbnail Viewer – plug-in for Windows that allows previewing of RAW photos when browsing through files.
- ePassportPhotos – create passport photos online
- Fastone Photo resizer – Batch convert, rename and resize images, including converting images to PDF files.
FastStone image viewer – image browser, viewer, converter and editor.
FilterSIM – photo filter simulator.
- FotoSketcher – automatically converts digital photos into art; or improve them with simple tools.
FrameFun – add mats, frames and drop shadows to digital images.
FuturePaint (Mac) – full-featured image editing.
Gimp – (Windows, Mac, Linux) – open source photo retouching software that has many robust features and supports layers. The learning curve may be higher for some than other editing programs listed here.
Irfanview – image viewer and converter; reads exif data.
- Microsoft ICE – advanced panoramic image stitcher
Neat Image – digital image noise reduction.
PanoramPlus Starter Edition – automatically stitch photos together to create panoramas
PhotoFiltre – image editing and filter program (go to the downloads page).
PhotoPlus – image editing software offering layers.
- Photoscape – photo editing software to fix and enhance photos.
Photo Story – add motion, effects, music and more to digital photos. Windows XP only.
- Picturennaut HDR – combine multiple photos of a scene for High Dynamic Range. [What's HDR?]
- Seashore – open source image editor for Mac OS X; supports multiple layers.
- TwistedBrush Open Studio – create original digital paintings and all forms of digital art. Photo editing too. Layers and Transparency; Masks; Tracing Paper.
VicMan’s Photo Editor – image editing.
virtualPhotographer – apply photographic styles to images.
Free photo-related software and utilities
- Bulk Rename Utility – easily rename files and entire folders based on extremely flexible criteria.
- Exposure Plot - analyzes usage of focal length, ISO, aperture and shutter speed.
- iTag – utility that embeds title, description and keywords in photos and videos.
- Photo Dater - add date and other information to photo.
- PIXresizer – image resizer.
- SD Formatter – considered the best utility to format SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
- uMark Lite - image watermarking software.
Free photo & data recovery software
- Exif Untrasher for Mac – rescues JPEG photos that were deleted from memory cards or memory sticks
- Pandora Recovery – find and recover a variety of deleted files
- PC Inspector File Recovery – data recovery program that supports the FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems
- Recuva – friendly user-interface
- Zar – the free version recovers photos only
- Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery – recover pictures from media cards
Free EXIF readers/viewers
- Opanda IExif - browse available Exif / GPS / IPTC data in digital images posted online.
- PhotoMe – analyze and modify Exif and IPTC-NAA data ; analyze ICC profiles.
Free video software
- DVD Flick – simple but powerful DVD authoring tool.
- MP4Cam2AVI – quickly converts .mp4/.MOV files to .AVI files (lossless).
- Mpeg Streamclip – a powerful video converter, player, editor for Mac and Windows.
- SMPlayer – basic features for playing videos, DVDs, and VCDs; advanced features for MPlayer filters and more
- VirtualDub – video capture and processing utility.
- VLC - open source cross-platform multimedia player
Free monitor calibration software
*Important notice: Read disclaimers about operating system requirements and compatibility that are posted at a developer’s site. If your OS system isn’t supported, a program won’t run correctly. You are solely responsible for software you download and install.