Photo Editing Made Easy

Most people probably already know this, but if like me you’re a bit slow then the following will be great news for you.

Recently my free Photoshop trial ran out and being the cheapskate I am, I didn’t want to pay for it, nor could I be bothered with trying to get a cracked version.

Since all I really used it for was touching up photos, I figured there must be some free, Instagram-style app for PC that I could download.

Enter: Adobe Photoshop Express.

photo editing

Fast, free and effective.

Now, I must make it clear that this is no Photoshop replacement. It’s super basic. Like, I think even more basic than Instagram. All you can really do with it is give your lame holiday snaps a little bit more pazzazz, BUT for that simple use, it’s great!

It’s quite digital and will add some noise to your photos so I wouldn’t suggest using it on high resolution or DSLR pictures – all it’s going to do is reduce quality. But for simple facebook or blog photos taken on a basic mobile phone camera, it’s ideal.

photo editing


It comes with the usual generic filters, but like Instagram, it’s best to use the manual corrections tool. My favourites are ‘vibrance’ – to bring out colour and tone, and ‘clarity’ – for giving blurry photos a bit more edge.

Once you get more advanced you’ll find some great tricks, like the ‘white’ and ‘black’ modulation tools which are ideal for fixing over-exposed or blurry underwater photos.

It also has basic crop, rotate and flip functions, and has an ‘auto enhance’ function, which can work well if you’re in a hurry but can also get it very wrong at times.

photo editing


During my search, I did also find another program called Aviary Photo Editor.  I don’t think it’s as good, but it has these silly text and picture options so some people might like it:

photo editing


No doubt there are better apps out there that do the same thing, and hopefully some smart-ass reading this will tell me in the comments section. Thanks, smart-ass!


EDIT:  You can technically get Snapseed on your PC, and obviously that would be the best free photo editing software.  BUT, you have to run it through Bluestacks and if you have used Bluestacks before you’ll know it’s a hassle to setup and slows your PC down a lot!



Agra: India’s Holy (Cash) Cow

Agra, also known as ‘that place where the Taj Mahal is’ is, quite literally, that place where the Taj Mahal is. It also features the incredible Agra Fort which I didn’t go to because, like everyone else, I only went to Agra for the Taj.

taj mahal
One of those Taj hand pics

Marble Mausoleum

I must say, though, that unlike most tourist traps, the Taj Mahal is actually worth the time and money (Rs1000 entrance – about £11). It is a well pimped-out palace of note, made almost entirely of white marble. Imagine the number of kitchen counters they could have made with all that marble? Every Indian shanty from Kolkata to Kochi could be decked out with blinding white, glittering surfaces ready to smash any piece of crockery placed down too heavily. But no, instead, the good old Shah Jahan built the world’s grandest gravestone, because that’s really all it is – a big-ass tomb for the Shah and his wife. Nobody ever even lived there.

Taj mahal in agra
Me, very excited about the giant tomb

Room with a View

Another great thing about Agra is that property conglomerates haven’t bought all the surrounding land and built 5-star hotels, so you can still get a £5 hotel room with a view of the Taj! Imagine you could get a hotel in Paris with a view of the Eiffel tower for £5? Imagine how terrible that hotel would have to be? Can you imagine it? Well, that’s how the cheap hotels in Agra are. But hey, for one or two nights, who cares? It’s just somewhere to sleep. And get bedbugs.

Room with awful wallpaper in agra
How’s that freakin wallpaper? Awful. So, so awful.
Taj mahal in agra
Not the worst view at breakfast

No Unicorns at the Taj Mahal

The security at the Taj is pretty damn tight, to say the least. They didn’t even let me take in my latex unicorn mask. I mean, seriously? I know it’s terrifying and mildly disturbing that a 35-year-old man carries around a latex unicorn mask, but what am I going to do with it? It’s not even flammable, it would just melt into an even more terrifying blob of bubbling goo. Books too, they don’t like you taking in books. Or food. Basically, just take your phone and wallet. If, however, you do decide to take your latex animal mask or a dog-eared copy of ‘50 Shades of Grey’, they do have locker facilities to leave your illegals in.

panorama of the taj in agra

Picture Perfect

Once inside you will not be disappointed. The Taj Mahal is one of the few places I’ve visited that somehow makes good photo opportunities possible, despite a massive throng of tourists. We managed to take the prerequisite seven thousand photos of the palace from every different angle, and one or two didn’t even have a single other tourist in! It truly is an Instagram junkie’s heaven.

hand pulling thing at taj mahal in agra
Instagram Crack!

Super Secret Photo Hack!

If you do go to the Taj, make sure to visit one of the relatively deserted side temples so you can get an awesome arch-framed photo like the one below.

I mean, come on, how pro does that look?

amazing instagram worthy taj photo in agra
Look – I’m even meditating. Everyone loves meditating!

Any More to Agra?

As I mentioned above, other than the Taj and Agra Fort, there isn’t much more to Agra. We did, however, have a day to kill before our night bus the following day so we went to explore the ‘Taj Nature Walk’. This I do not recommend. It’s not so much a nature walk as a dry, run down park that made me think of the Pripyat amusement park in Chernobyl. Bonus points for finding the terrifying ‘zoo’ full of plastic animals that I can only imagine were placed there after all the real animals died of boredom from having to live in this park.

terrible park in agra
The fear is real!

Happy Travels!

Read more about my adventures in India here:  Splash Roll Stumble: India

Need somewhere cheap to stay? Stay India


panorama of the taj
The Taj makes for great panoramas