We use free open-source image editor The GIMP and Easy Poster Print to perfect our favourite summer snaps and print them out at poster-size.

With summer well under way, your digital camera is likely to be loaded up with shots of beautiful scenery and unforgettable memories. Unfortunately, few will ever see the light of day.

Printing out and displaying a few of your favourite snaps around the home is an obvious option, serving not only as a talking point for envious guests but as a reminder of your summer fun during those cold and dark winter days. Online photo-printing sites can produce posters as well as standard prints from your digital images – but with these services charging around £10 per poster, you might prefer to print your own.

You don’t need an oversize printer to produce large prints, either. A number of software programs can split an image into A4 sections that can be printed out and stitched together. Easy Poster Print offers this function for free, while several other packages have free trials.

Of course, printing an image at poster size isn’t as simple as it sounds. Tiny blemishes in your shots will be magnified, as will any problems with exposure, colour balance and so on. Since even DIY poster-printing costs around £3 a pop once you’ve taken inks and paper into consideration, you’ll want to get it looking good first time round.

But don’t just correct the obvious: if you experiment with colour levels, shadows and midtones, you can make an otherwise average photo come to life. Some photos – and their subjects – are crying out for special treatment. Consider applying a filter such as watercolour to make your image look as though it’s been printed on to a canvas.

Many of these tweaks can be conducted using free software, such as Picasa and open-source The Gimp. We’ve used the latter to beautify our snaps before printing them as posters. Follow our advice to make your favourite snaps even better, then print out huge versions for all to admire.

Edit your photos for printing

Step 1. Download and install The Gimp. Once the installation is complete, launch the program and browse to the image you want to edit. Click the File menu in the main window, select Open and choose the file you want from the Explorer window. Press Open.

The Gimp step 1

Step 2. The first step is to check the image is correctly aligned. If your image opens on its side, click Image, Transform and choose to rotate the image 90 degrees clockwise or anticlockwise. If the image still appears slightly wonky, again click Image, Transform, but this time enter a smaller value to rotate the image.

The Gimp step 2

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