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by Phil Ball

Q. My granddaughter has a compact digital camera and takes many interesting photos with it but she wants to learn more so she can take better pictures. I want to help her but we are on a pretty tight budget.

A. Many fine photos are taken with compact point and shoot type cameras so that is not a limitation and the convenience of having a little camera that is always with you leads to many good pictures.

The next step might be for her to improve her photos with a computer. She probably already uses a computer to store her images so adding a photo editor allows her to continue to be creative after the image is taken. It is amazing how just a few subtle changes to an image can make huge improvements to a photo. Try some of the free photo editors like Picasa or IrfanView or even some of the more sophisticated editors like GIMP or PhotoFiltre. Just Google their names to find the free download.

If you are looking for a gift, you might consider either Adobe PhotoShop Elements or Corel PaintShop Photo Pro; both are full featured photo editors and cost less than $100 and are often found on sale.

The other resource I would recommend is to look for tutorials about photography on the Internet. The variety and completeness of the tutorials that are available is amazing. There are tutorials about basic picture-taking as well as tutorials about how to work with a photo editor.

Published: Courier 12/12/10 - Page 5C