By Laura Siirila '13,
Do you have a stock pile of photos that need touching up, could be repurposed or need to be resized? Unless you are frequently using photo editors for professional projects, there is no need to purchase the expensive software when there are many free or mostly free online photo editors. Most online editors follow the same basic steps for changing a photo: 1) Upload the photo, 2) Preview changes (color, brightness, filters, text, stickers, etc.) to the photo and 3) Save and/or Publish the photo.
When do I use an edited photo?
Edited photos have many purposes. In the classroom, they can be used in presentations or projects. Using an edited photo can make your content look more professional and improve the viewer experience. In marketing and communications, edited photos can be used in brochures, websites and social platforms to engage with viewers. Since text can be added to edited photos, they can also be used in fliers or other promotional materials.
What editor should I use?
There are many photo editors to choose from, but the following two editors are well-rated, user-friendly editors.
PicMonkey is one of the easiest online photo editors to use. To begin: upload a photo. Once a photo is uploaded, tabs on the left-hand side of the screen navigate the user through basic editing process, adding effects and filters to the photo, touching up facial features, adding text, adding overlays, adding frames, adding textures and using pre-made themes to edit photos. There are also options to create collages and start designing a piece from scratch.
- Enough options to allow for variety without becoming overwhelming
- Low learning curve
- A large collection of overlays and themes
- Able to upload personal overlays and textures
- Many features require an upgraded plan to use
- Once the tab in the internet browser is closed, the work is lost
Pixlr offers three different types of editors: the Pixlr Editor, the Pixlr Express and Pixlr O-Matic. These three editors are for a range of expertise, listed from hardest to easiest. The Pixlr Editor offers similar capabilities to Adobe Photoshop. This editor is quite comprehensive, but it takes time to learn to use properly. Pixlr Express offers an easier version of Pixlr Editor. Similar to PicMonkey, it offers several stages of editing, but it has more options than PicMonkey. For the beginner editor, this may be overwhelming. However, once you become more familiar with the settings, this becomes a useful feature of the program. Pixlr O-Matic has three editing options: effect, overlay and border.
- Editors for different skill levels
- Large number of options for Adjustment and Effect in Express version
- Steeper learning curve
- Unable to upload own overlays and stickers
I personally recommend using Pixlr. There is a higher learning curve and the amount of options can make it overwhelming, but it has the most features and has the most power. However, I think experimenting with each programs will help you decide which editor is the best fit for your needs and experience.