When GIMP or Adobe Photoshop is difficult to understand, a novice always has an alternative. PICASA, google best offering when it comes to image manipulation.
I have used PICASA to edit some of my images. The ease of use is something that cannot be contested by any other image manipulation software. With just a few clicks from here and there, you have a better picture right away.
I came across this software when a former agent and schoolmate of mine became interested with photography. This was in turn introduced to her by a group of professional photographers we met in Flickr. At first, I wasn't really interested in image manipulation as I felt it will somehow destroy the picture however, if your camera does not do what you want it to do you still have the option to salvage the beauty of the scenery you have captured by editing the captured moment and turn things around.
I do not do hard-core editing, I feel like I am cheating with my capability. I only edit my pics when the need arise and for the fun of it. This is what compelled me to use PICASA since I do not have a high-end camera.
The PICASA I am using is compatible for windows xp and windows vista. I am more loyal to windows xp because of it's stability.
With PICASA, you have the option to rotate you picture similar to windows fax viewer. It also has the ability to crop and straighten your picture in case your shot is off. It has the red eye removal functionality as well as a retouch functionality. You can use retouch if there are any unwanted images in you picture, all you need to do is use your instincts as to which part of the picture will cover that unwanted part of the image. You can also incorporate some texts in your picture. The best thing is the auto adjust functionality they call "I'm feeling lucky".
If you already got the hang of PICASA you can try the more advance editing tab like tuning and effects. Tuning tab has the ability to change the contrast of your image. Adjust the lighting, the highlights, the shadows and the color temperature.
The Effects tab will help you adjust the sharpness and saturation of your image, change the color into sepia or even black and white. You can even isolate a specific part of your pic and make it the only colored part from a black an white image.
There are other effects as well but those I mentioned are the most important ones when it comes to image manipulation.
If you want to create a collage of your pictures, create a movie for your pics, upload it via google webspace or blog about it, you can do this as well with PICASA
Right now, the latest update for this software is Picasa 3.6 and you can download it via http://picasa.google.com