It's time to round up the best free picks when it comes to editing images for your blog, social media or website! Whether you're just starting out and have a limited budget, your computer crashed and you're sans software for a while or you only edit photos once in a blue moon, here are the top tools for zip, zero, nada to help make your images shine their very best.
Though I personally work in Photoshop and Lightroom, Pixlr is my favorite free app, especially for bloggers and creatives on a budget. Pop open right in your browser, this website offers two versions: Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express. Express is perfect if your photo is a tad too dark and you need to lighten it up, a photo is a little caddy-wonky and needs to be straighten up a bit or go for a basic, all around, no-thought-required auto-fix.
My preference though, and the best bang for your free buck, is Pixlr Editor. It looks like a browser version of Photoshop and works (and looks!) eerily similar to the Adobe workhorse. Spot heal, burn, sharpen, lighten, smudge, clone stamp… you name it, Pixlr Editor has it. You can even work with layers! If you’ve used Photoshop in the past and miss it, crave it, but can’t quite work it into your budget, jump on over to Pixlr. Speaking as a professional, Pixlr is the most cohesive and intuitive free image editing program.
Fotor is a great, basic in-browser photo editor, similar to Pixlr. Access simple editing features like exposure, contrast, curves, sharpness, among other necessities. Take it to the next level by clicking on the beauty tab on the left and with (majorly!) advanced tweaks like skin smoothing, blemish fixes and tools to make your teeth sparkle. And there’s a first time for everything: Fotor even includes a tool to make your eyebrows on fleek. I’m not hip. I think I used that slang wrong. Or too late. Whoops!
Be aware, though: In order to use the browser version of Fotor, your image must be smaller than 8MB; however, you can download Fotor for desktop and get to editing those larger files, plus features like batch processing, collage and more.
Bonus! You can also take Fotor on the road by downloading the app for iOS or Android. Double bonus! You can also design everything from social media cover photos to posters and greeting cards all in the browser, too. Just hit the Design link at the top of the homepage.
In terms of free photo editing tools, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a little different, since it requires you to download the program right to your computer; however, the features are worth having. It’s possible that GIMP is the most advanced free image editing tool out there, so long as you aren’t being illegal with a hacked version of Photoshop. Don’t do that! Download GIMP.
GIMP offers nearly all of the tools you'll get from Photoshop - yep, Photoshop, not just Elements - but with a slightly different layout and overall theme, but those differences are purely visual. GIMP also uses the same shortcuts and keyboard commands as Photoshop, so if you're a big nerd like me and shortcuts are second nature, I'd recommend you download GIMP immediately. It's also great if you absolutely don't have access to Illustrator and need a quick fix to create graphics and logos using the pen tool.
You'd think there would be commercial restrictions to such a full-bodied, free program, right? Nope. Use GIMP to edit to your heart's desire to produce work commercially.
Bonus! GIMP also offers a small archive of tutorials, which offers guidance on how to get started with image manipulation and advanced photo editing.
Over the next few weeks, we'll cover some of the best paid and mobile options for editing photos, too!
In the meantime, what are your favorite tools to edit photos for your blog, social media or website?
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