“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
When it comes to blogging and creating amazing content online this old adage cannot be more true. Thanks to the exploding popularity of websites like Pinterest and Instagram we’ve come to understanding that creating visual interpretations and replacing pure text with images, infographics and videos on our blogs can truly impact the way people perceive our message. Today readers want beautiful designs and pictures that make them feel inspired as well as educated.
You don’t need professional and expensive software like Photoshop for basic image manipulation, editing, applying filters, effects and overlays. There are tons of tools that will let you do the same without spending a cent. Thanks to technology development we can now shoot great quality images even with a smartphone, and in case we want to change how they look before publishing we have mobile apps to help us. Everything is here, at our fingertips; we just have to let the creative juices flow…
Pixlr is the most popular online photo editor in the world (or so they say on their website). It’s easy to use and has many of the same functions and layout as Adobe Photoshop, but it’s free and within your browser, which means you don’t need to download a program to use it.
This tool is amazing for basic image editing, color corrections, resizing, cropping and fixing, as well as adding effects, overlays and borders, to transform your photos in their most appealing look and style. You can upload files from your computer, add an URL of the image to fetch, or even connect to online libraries like your Facebook profile. Check their site for iOS and Android apps.
If you are Instagram fan, you’ll love PicMonkey. It’s light, fun, and easy to use, and has those Instagram-like custom filters, great seasonal clip art add-ons, cool fonts, loads of sticker overlays, blemish-fixing tools like airbrushing and wrinkle-removers, and many more features. But you should be careful not to overuse them so your image won’t end up looking fake and edited.
The web app has a free and pro (paid) version with added tools for in-depth photo editing.
BeFunky is a website photo editor (and an iPhone and Android app) that features similar effects and photo embetterment tools like PicMonkey, common for apps like Instagram. You can crop, resize, or add frames to your pictures, adjust their color, brightness, contrast, saturation, or sharpness, apply some of their hundreds of offered effects, or even make cool photo collages to use on your blog, and in marketing campaigns. It’s all free!
Picfull is probably the most simple image editor out there, that only features filters (22 to choose from) which range in color, saturation, contrast, effects… Browse an image to upload from your hard drive, select the filter you like the most, and save the photo on your computer to add it to your blog posts or share it directly with your readers. Sometimes the most simple is the best.
FotoFlexer is another browser-based photo editor that claims to be the most advanced available. I’m not sure about that, though it allows you to import photos directly from sites like Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, and lets you first feel the layouts on sample images before you start editing your own. There’s also a wide selection of filters, shapes, borders, text and stickers for image editing, including features like red eye-fixing, smooth wrinkles, distortions or just retouching.
GIMP is an open-source software, the only downloadable in this list, and probably the best alternative to Photoshop because of its layout and functions – an interface you can customize, ability to upload different image formats (even .PSD), and a variety of amazing tools for photo enhancement. It’s been on the market for almost 18 years, but expect it to be slower when applying changes … still, the tool is free.
And last but not least is my favorite image editing app :
Canva . I love Canva primarily due to its simplicity and ease of use. With great templates for all kinds of blog graphics as well as helpful tutorials, its really easy and quick to create good looking on-brand graphics that will wow your readers ( not to mention save you tons of time fiddling with photoshop, or for me, having to go through graphic designers to really simple changes to current graphics.)
These seven free photo editors will give you a great start when creating images to use in your posts, social updates and other marketing activities, which can turn out viral and bring you more engagement and greater traffic to your blog. Share other tools that you use and love in the comments below…