One of the biggest uses you can put the computer to good use is in photography. It doesn't matter if you just are a snapper at special family event or while on the family vacations or an avid hobbyist. It doesn’t matter if you just use a disposable, an old film camera, a cell phone or the latest wiz bang prosummer model from Cannon, Nikon, or someone else, You enjoy photography and you can enjoy it more. Perhaps you are the shutter bug in your family and you may have been put in charge or storing all the family photos into the computer. Maybe you have photos that were damaged in fire or flood. Using the computer and the correct software you can bring them back to like new. You might have pictures that have been stored in shoe boxes or in long forgotten storage locations. Even if stored safely away in albums or picture frames these cherished memories may be faded if not stored with archival paper or under UV resistant glass. Perhaps you have gotten the genealogical bug and you need to not only restore cherished pictures of long gone ancestores but you need a way to organize the cherished memories.
Let us start with getting phots into the computer. You should by yourself a good quality photo scanner. I recommend a good flat bed scanner. If you already have an all and one that is a good place to start but the quality just won't be as good as most people would want. If you have slide from your parents or grandparents the all in one won't be of much help and then you will need a good flatbed scanner that is capable of scanning slides also just in case. If you inherited from a friend or relative an older scanner fear not. Just head over to http://hamrick.com/ and try this software and see if it will increase the capabilities of your scanner. I have used their software for years and it does wonders for your scanner.
Now that you have your pictures in the computer you need to start working with them. Both the PC and the Mac computers have software built into the operating systems that will easily get you started onto your new uses for your photos. ON the pc you should download and install Microsoft Live Photo Gallery (part of live essentials). Straighten the photos you scanned in and adjust the color all of which is easy in the program. After awhile it will become apparent that you want to do much more with these photos. Putting personal information about the people and places in the photo. Do not forget to organize the photos into the needed different files such and Vacation 2012. or Bob's birthday. This is very important step to follow. Twenty years from know you may not remember Bob was your best friend in the 4th grade shop class.
After scanning in your 2nd or 3rd group of photos you decide you want to perform more with them. You adjusted the photos as best you can But Photo Gallery just doesn't do all you want. Better cropping, Straightening, raming, Tagging, Restoring damaged areas of photos and on and on. Now it is time to think of using more powerful software. You haven't decided how serious you are in this whole photo thing so I recommend heading over to download.com and try one of free programs they have there for photo manipulation. I have heard nothing but good about the gimp or irfanview. These are 2 very powerful image editing packages. You may find these are all you will ever need to get done what you want and that is find but I use Paintshop Photo Pro X4. I have been using this program since version 8 and I have restored thousands of slides and prints some of which are over a hundred years or so old. There are plenty of other good paid programs but this is what I have experience with. I have no dout that Photohop is the best image editiing software out there but at $700.00 that isn't going to happen in my family. There are plenty of tutorial photo on how to get the most out of this Paintshop both at http://www.corel.com and on YouTube and this kind of support is why you get a paid program.
The more you lean the more you will want to learn as to how to bet use this program. I recommend Photo Restoration and Retouching Using Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X4. There are others. Just head over to http://www.barnesandnoble.com. And check out what is available.
Twenty years ago you had to pay someone to do these changes to your photos and it was very expensive and as a result rarely ever done.. Now you can do it all yourself. Now get going and expand your hobby.