Unless you are a member of the open source software community you may not have heard about the GNU Image Manipulation Program otherwise known as GIMP. Open source software has proven to be an important part of the environment and some communities, and universities (mostly in Europe) are switching to these programs because they are finding that they are a low cost but high quality alternative to copyright protected programs.
Another benefit of open source is the rights that the user is granted by the author(s) of the programs. If a user has the skills, he can alter the program at will, perhaps to customize it to better fit the users needs. The GNU license also allows the free exchange of the program with other potential users.
Then there is the issue of cost. There is none. Open source software is free. This doesn’t mean that we should just use and not contribute. Contributions to the authors is highly encouraged so that continuous development can continue. And that is the same case with GIMP.
After my introduction to open source I started experimenting with Linux, the operating system authored by Linus Torvalds back in the 1990’s. Since I am a photographer, I naturally became interested in GIMP and also experimented with it while I was still tied to PS and MS Windows. The more I experimented, the more excited I became about the possibility of using Linux and GIMP for my professional work. But first I needed to do some research.
The first thing I did was to query Google: “professional photographers using gimp.” The results showed Riley Brandt Photography (www.rileybrandt.com). The work that he shows on his website that has been produced with GIMP and the advice that he gave on his blog were instrumental and gave me confidence that my goal could be reached. Several other searches and articles on the web were also encouraging.
The bottom line was that I needed to practice, practice and practice some more so that I could be efficient in my workflow and produce the imaging that I need to keep my business. I studied tutorials and the GIMP website until I was as proficient with GIMP as I had been with PS.