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Using Windows Photo Gallery to Edit Photos: Tips on How to Edit Your Digital Photos for Free

written by: •edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/19/2008

Depending on the extent of which you plan to edit your photos, it might not be necessary to purchase additional photo editing software. If you’re running Windows Vista, the built-in Photo Gallery could be enough to meet your photo editing needs.

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    What post-processing do you do with your photos? If your editing requirements are fairly basic and you use Windows Vista, you can fix your photos for free. Windows Photo Gallery allows you to crop, adjust exposure and colour and fix red eye. Adjustments of exposure and colour can be done automatically with nothing more than a click of a button or adjustments can be made manually.

    To get started, simply open Windows Photo Gallery. This can be done by either clicking on the Windows button at the bottom left of your screen, selecting All Programs then Windows Photo Gallery or – if you have your computer configured to open images using Windows Photo Gallery – by navigating to the photo you wish to edit and double-clicking on the photo to open it. Once you’ve opened your image in Windows Photo Gallery click on Fix above the image. Doing so, you will see editing options to the right of your image.

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    If you wish to crop your photo – which is often the case since we don’t always compose our photos exactly how we want them when taking the photo – it’s best to do this before altering any other elements of the image. Select Crop Picture from the right panel to recompose your photo. You are presented with a drop-down menu called Proportion.

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    If you don’t plan to print your photo to fit in a standard size photo frame, the Custom option allows you to set your own proportions and the Original option will preserve the proportion of the original photo, otherwise choose the proportion that matches the size you’ll be printing. You can adjust the crop size by clicking on the corner of the crop frame and dragging it to suite. To reposition the crop frame, click anywhere within the photo and drag to where you’d like. You can also rotate the crop frame to be vertical or horizontal by clicking on Rotate Frame.

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    Once you’re satisfied with your cropping click on Apply, the next step is to fix the other elements of your photo. You can have Windows Photo Gallery do the work for you by clicking on Auto Adjust or do it manually by clicking on Adjust Exposure (brightness and contrast) and Adjust Color (Color Temperature, Tint and Saturation). If you aren’t happy with the results, you can remove changes by clicking the Undo button at the bottom right of the image. If you’ve made several changes, clicking the arrow to the right of Undo will provide you with a drop-down list which enables you to undo all changes or select which changes you’d like removed. Conversely, if you decide you like the changes after undoing them you can click Redo to bring them back.

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    With most photo editing software you need to manually save changes. With Windows Photo Gallery the changes are saved automatically once you navigate away from the image. If you’ve made changes you aren’t happy with and then accidentally steer away from your image causing Windows Photo Gallery to auto save – DON’T PANIC! The meaning of the word “save” with Window Photo Gallery isn’t as permanent as with other applications. An original copy of your photo has been saved and you always have the option of retrieving it. All you need to do is go back to the image, click Fix, and where Undo was before, is now replaced with Revert. Clicking on this will replace the edited image with the original.

    If you want copies of both the original photo and an edited version, click on File at the top of the image and select Make a copy.

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    Good luck!

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