Just wanted to share some great software for Beginners. Actually some of the software are used by professional photographers. Some of them are a great alternative for Photoshop and illustrator. The software are totally free. Gimp
Personally, I edit with Canon Digital Photo Professional (Free, but only worth it if you shoot Canon RAW) and Paint Shop Pro (I'm on version X3) which has most of Photoshop's capability and is (IMHO) easier to use, but is a fraction of the price.