i've tried different photo editors in the past, but i can't seem to find the one i want...i don't want to go and buy one before i know a little bit about a good one..please comment back and tell me if you are using a good editor! thanks!
Adobe Photoshop is by far the leader of photo editors. However, if you're not willing to hand over the big bucks for the full version, they has a scaled-down version called Adobe Elements for much less money. It should be enough for most people who aren't trying to do professional-level editing. But if you want to go for something even cheaper, GIMP really gives you a lot for $0. So basically once you find your price range I recommend you choose one of these three. They are all good programs.
I'll echo the recommendation for Paint Shop Pro. I've been keeping mine up-to-date since I first downloaded it in it's early shareware days...shortly after I evolved opposable thumbs. I hear-tell it's the most downloaded photo/graphics program in Internet history.
PSP gives you a lot of power for your money. It has all the basic tools, some automatic wizards, special effects filters, and other neat features, plus, it takes PS plugins. I should also mention that PSP9 now supports Canon RAW (.CR2) files.
One day, in the far-flung future, I suppose I'll buy Photoshop...I mean, after all, it's Photoshop. But until then, PSP is nothing to sneeze at.
I use a combination of several programs. I use ArcSoft Photostudio 2000 for most of my photo editing (lightening/darkening, adjusting contrast, etc.). It is a very basic program (similar to PSP but lacking some features) and sometimes can't do everything I want to do so I also have Gimp and IrfanView. Gimp is a lot like Photoshop except it isn't as user friendly, and IrfanView can take Photoshop filters, so with the combination of the two I can do basically everything I could do with Photoshop (and they're both free). I also use Microsoft Office Picture Manager for cropping because it is simple and easy to use.