6. Working with Digital Camera Photos

6.1. Introduction

One of the most common uses of the Gimp is to fix digital camera images that for some reason are less than perfect. Maybe the image is overexposed or underexposed; maybe rotated a bit; maybe out of focus: these are all common problems for which Gimp has good tools. The purpose of this chapter is to give you an overview of those tools and the situations in which they are useful. You will not find detailed tutorials here: in most cases it is easier to learn how to use the tools by experimenting with them than by reading about them. (Also, each tool is described more thoroughly in the Help section devoted to it.) You will also not find anything in this chapter about the multitude of "special effects" that you can apply to an image using Gimp. You should be familiar with basic Gimp concepts before reading this chapter, but you certainly don't need to be an expert–if you are, you probably know most of this anyway. And don't hesitate to experiment: Gimp's powerful "undo" system allows you to recover from almost any mistake with a simple Ctrl-Z.

Most commonly the things that you want to do to clean up an imperfect photo are of four types: improving the composition; improving the colors; improving the sharpness; and removing artifacts or other undesirable elements of the image.