5 Best Photo Applications for the Mac Classroom

Editing and Manipulating photos is becoming an essential part of the multimedia classroom. In considering which tools are best I looked at a few primary factors.  These include: Price, Capability, Ease of use, and educational value.

  1. Pixelmator- $59 Pixelmator is a very powerful photo editing tool that gives you photoshop like capability  in a easy to use affordable package.  Piximator lets you preform all of the basics like crop, rotate, change color and exposure level, but goes beyond to allow advances editing with layers. If you need an affordable tool that can do just about everything pixelmator is your tool.
  2. MacGimp- Free (Open Source) Gimp has been an open source alternative for editing photos for a long time.  As a result it has become a well developed open source application.  Although it is not as pretty and not as easy to use as Pixelmator, it is just as powerfull in regards to capability.  The price is somthing any teacher can afford, but there is a steep learning curve.
  3. I-Photo'08- $71 (Part of the i-Life suite)  I-photo is tightly integrated into many of the Mac applications, and is extreemly easy to learn and use.  It is a key componant to managing your photos, and does a good job with basic editing tasks.  On the down side I-photo is very limited, and will nt do any advanced editing.  It is simply a good tool to manage and preform  very basic edits to your photos.  I personally feel that it is not worth the upgrade price if a previous version came with your Mac, unless you are also doing a significant ammount of video work with i-movie whitch is included with the i-Life update.
  4. Photoshop Elements- 89.95 Photoshop is the industry standard for photo editing. The elements version takes out a few of the professional features, and makes the interface a little easier to use, but still contains a significant ammount of editing power.  It is an affordable alternative to its big brother.
  5. Photoshop- 299.95 Photoshop does not top the list primarily because of price.  It is simply out of range for most teachers.  For those that can afford it they also face a steep learning curve.  With all of these drawbacks, why is it on the list?  Photoshop is an extremely powerful editing tool.  It has the backing of a huge user base, so it is easy to find resources to figure out what you want to do.  Of the five this software ranks the highest in educational value, simply because the skills learned will likely carry over to the professional market.

(All prices based on academic discounts if availible)