You don't need expensive graphics software to edit photos like a pro. In fact, you don't need graphics software on your computer at all. All you need to edit photos like a pro is an Internet connection and a Flash-enabled Web browser.
Pixlr Editor is a free, Web-based photo-editing tool by Autodesk that looks and works a lot like Photoshop. It has many of the same tools as desktop photo-editing programs; tools like crop, smudge, red-eye correction, and spot-healing are all there. It even supports layers, history (for undos), and has a fair amount of filters to choose from.
Pixlr Editor doesn't have much in the way of contextual help, but you can find some video tutorials here. If Pixlr Editor is too complex for you, there's also a very basic version called Pxlr Express. Some other online photo-editing sites include Picnik and Adobe Photoshop Express Editor, though Pixlr Editor is more Photoshop-like than either of them.
That's it. Now you can edit photos like a pro with just your Web browser and an Internet connection.