Most suppliers of commercial programs offer trial versions which will work for a set period, usually from ten to thirty days. You can download these trials from the suppliers’ web sites on the Internet. This can be very helpful. You can test a program which you are interested in without buying it first. Returning a computer program to a store or a refund after you have opened and perhaps installed it may not be as straight-forward as returning a physical item such as a toaster. One drawback to these free trials is that the files you have to download are often very large. They take time to download to your computer and use up part of the bandwidth which your Internet Service Provider allows you before applying an extra charge. You need a good broadband connection to handle them. I only use trial versions where I have seen good, preferably independent, reports about the program and am seriously considering buying it because there are other factors which may limit their usefulness. If you decide to buy that program, you may have to download a different version which can be unlocked with the serial number which the supplier sends to you after getting your payment. With some trial programs, you can use that serial number to unlock the full features of the paid version and you don’t have to download the program twice.
Start with What You Already Have
If you have a digital camera, you may have got an image editing program on the CD or DVD which came with it. That program may have enough features to get you started with your first few projects or, at least allow you to become familiar with how to manipulate your pictures so that you know how to decide which more advanced program to get later on. Or, you may already have an image editing program which you bought for another purpose. You may have got one as part of the deal when you bought your computer. Give it a good try before buying a program or even downloading one from the Internet. You may be pleasantly surprised.