Okay, I just installed Gimp and checked out the tools.
To adjust the brightness:
Click on the 'Colors' tab, then 'Brightness-Contrast', choose 'Edit these Settings as Curves', click 'Auto', then move the gray selector (the one in the middle on the top bar), to the left until the brightness looks to your liking.
Another feature you might want to look at is JPEG noise removal: https://www.gimp.org/tutorials/Selective_Gaussian_Blur/
Note, that this will make the picture look almost plasticy smooth, so I recommend using the layer opacity trick I mentioned yesterday along side of it, setting the opacity to around 54.0% should be pretty good. The important thing is to reduce as much noise, without losing too much detail, especially around the hair, in fact you'll probably want to apply an 'Unsharpen Mask' both before and after doing this, and on the base layer (unedited layer) as well.
Also, when using Sharpen, I always prefer the 'Unsharpen Mask' tool over the regular one, just make sure that 'Amount' is set bellow 0.15; you can find Unsharpen Mask under 'Filters' then 'Enhance'.
One other tool that you should find useful is the 'Heal' tool, this is used to remove spots and blemishes from pictures that were taken with digital cameras; you can find the Heal tool in the tools palette, it resembles two green band-aids, forming an 'X' shape, to use the tool, hold 'Ctrl' and click a similar area that doesn't have a blemish, then click on the bad spot to cover it over.
Here is the picture you shared earlier, I made a few corrections using the above mentioned tools in Gimp.
Spoiler for Picture:
Two final notes regarding Gimp.
1. The drop box for Layer Filters is a little difficult to notice, but it's right above the Opacity bar.
2. When saving your picture, choose 'Export As' from the File menu, 'Save As' is for Gimp format work files only, I also recommend saving in PNG whenever possible.
I never really had a need for GIMP, as most of it's the features are copied from Corel, so I haven't installed it yet on my current computer, so I'll see about installing it tomorrow to determine where the features are located.
Oh, thanks for the helpful tips. Did not know that the layers can also be used in GIMP. Thought that function is only for photoshop. Will try your tips probably on the next weekend. ^-^
Hmm, and one more question. Is there a way to brighten a photo. even just a little bit so that the person can be seen a little more clearly? We shot this image outside, however the sun is already setting so it became dark. My mistake. forgot to add flash to the cam. It's just this one pic that has the problem.
I feel that X2 is a little easier to use than GIMP, but with the later versions of Corel, they have completely messed up the ability to customize the interface.
The clarity looks a little strong.
A quick tip on editing graphics, make sure that you have Layers enabled first, duplicate the graphics and modify it on the new layer, above the older layer, which should remain unaltered.
You can also limit the effect of contrast enhancement, by setting the above edited layers opacity and filter settings.
Sharpening the layer tends to produce a white glare around the edges, so I like to set my sharpened layers to a Darken filter, which blends it with the lower layer, while setting the darker aspects to a higher priority.
Here's a quick example:
Spoiler for Sharpening Example:
1. Nothing changed.
2. Sharpened, includes glare.
3. Same sharpened layer plus darken filter.
4. Same sharpened layer plus darken filter set to 75% opacity, duplicated and reset to normal filter at 50% opacity (2 sharped layers with different filters set).
On the unedited layer, I think that the clarity looked fine, it only needs to be sharped a little; where on the second modified layer, the sharpness and clarity are too strong. So I suggest utilizing the layers option, which will allow you to tweak as you work.
I'm glad your all doing alright. The trick or treaters are pretty much done for the night, so a lot of the Halloween candy is going to go into the cabinet. I feel like I'd die if I had to eat anything with more sugar.
I normally use Corel Paint Shop Pro X2 for general editing, but GIMP's a great program.