Should You Spring for Photoshop?

Like Xerox, Hoover, and Band-Aid, the image-editing program Adobe Photoshop has become a verb as well as a brand. It's the gold standard for touching-up, manipulating photographs, and graphic design fails. But it's also a heavy-duty program, complex enough to merit a whole cottage industry of how-to classes.

If you're looking for some more lightweight photo-editing options, you have some good choices available. Many professionals are choosing another Adobe program, Lightroom, to manage their work. While a subscription to the Creative Cloud Photography plan also includes Photoshop, Lightroom is great for quick edits and managing large batches of files. The Photography subscription runs about $10 a month, while Photoshop alone costs twice that.

Even if you're not a photo pro or making money off your pictures, you may want access to solid, simple-to-use software that makes your images look their best. The good news? There are now plenty of websites that provide all the features and functionalities of Photoshop for free, from the comfort of your own browser page. Pixlr offers a suite of options for desktop and mobile editing, some feature-rich and others on the go. Even Adobe will let you try out an online editing program for free.

Not long ago, Photoshop was an expensive, hard-copy tool that you either bought or pirated. Now that image-making has become part of everyone's life, you don't need to sink hundreds of dollars into the Porsche of photo-editing software to help your pictures look top-notch.