It's never been a better time to be a hobbyist photographer. Thanks to affordable DSLR, and point and shoot cameras and the ever improving cameras found in mobile devices its easier then ever to jump into creative photography.
Since there's more to making a photo great then just the camera, we look to software options like Adobe Photoshop or Apple's Aperture to add post processing or effects to our images. Generally these software packages cost a bit more than a general hobbyist can afford, but thanks to the growing number of great free web apps that cater to the beginner even those new to photography can develop their photographers tool kit.
PicMonkey (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
PicMonkey picks up on the hobbyist trend with their devilishly simple online photo editing and collage browser app. Instead of mimicking professional grade photo editing tools, PicMonkey opts for a playful textured interface. All the while still offering a robust set of features including a range of touch up options, (from blemish correction to teeth whitening) texture and image overlay, and standard features such as exposure and color settings.
iPiccy (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
Similar to PicMonkey, iPiccy again offers a playful interface for photo editing, with a few more standard features a more professional user might expect. Curves, levels and color balance bring iPiccy a step closer to online tools like Aviary Image Editor
, without simply mimicking the Photoshop interface so as to keep the learning curve a bit less steep for newcomers.
Pixlr Express (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
A stripped down version of its more robust browser app cousin Pixlr
, this app is by far the one of the more attractive browser apps I've used. With a simple to use interface that looks great in fullscreen, and offering a subtle yet smart selection of basic tools and features, Pixlr Express takes photo editing for beginners a step in the right direction. Though missing some expected pro features such as curves and levels the interface really makes up for what it lacks in feature depth.
Though there is no real substitute for pro level software, a steep learning curve often leaves hobbyist out of the loop. These browser apps offer a stepping stone into a more intermediate photography workflow helping newcomers find their footing with the vocabulary and tools of trade. If you're just getting started with photography, or even if you're a seasoned pro who wants to diversify their tool kit, these simple to use (and more importantly free to use) browser apps are definitely worth checking out.
(Images: Sean Rioux, PicMonkey, iPiccy, Pixlr Express)