When I first started blogging I was at a loss as to what I could use for editing images and graphics. I didn’t have any experience in photography or design so I needed something easy and user friendly. Most of my google searches turned up with suggestions of very pro tools like photoshop or other software that I would have to pay for. I knew I didn’t want to spend money and I needed something simple. In fact, I still need something simple since I am not the most visually inclined person. So today, I thought I’d share 5 user friendly image editing tools for beginner bloggers that I use myself. As a plus, four of them are free 😉
Pixlr Express (Free)
Not sure how to go about pronouncing “Pixlr” but I happened to discover this through Google Drive. I save all my blog pictures on my drive to save space on my desktop. When I open a picture within drive, there is an option at the top that says “Open with” and gives a few options. Initially I selected Pixlr Editor since it sounded more pro. However, I couldn’t figure out what all the options did so I went over to “Pixlr Express” and haven’t looked back since.
Creating an account is free, you don’t have to download anything to your desktop and it’s easily accessible from any web browser or from Google Drive. Usually when I open the picture I will first click on Adjustment and try the Auto Fix button. If that results in something worse than what I started with I will go to Color and increase lightness. Then I’ll play around with Sharpen & Contrast. Lastly, I usually add a blue overlay to my pictures since increasing the light gives them a yellow tint.
If I am editing pictures with people in them I usually use the Heal, Brighten and Airbrush features.
Pic, Tap, Go App ($1.99)
This is my go to app for editing pictures on my phone. Since I keep all my blog pictures on google drive, I can just pull one from that app and edit it on my phone if I am away from my laptop.
Once you open a picture on the app, you can actually see how the picture will look with the various simple filter options (see picture below). More often than not I stay within the basics and use Lights On, Crispity and Cool It Down. I love being able to see what each option does to the picture at once so I can compare.
There are also options to adjust manually.
The app isn’t free, but at $1.99 it’s extremely affordable.
Photo Editor by Aviary App (Free)
When it comes to editing only specific parts of a picture on my phone (like a giant pimple) I use Aviary. Once you open up the app and select a picture, there is a menu at the bottom with options such as Blur, Blemish, Whiten and Red Eye. When you select an option, it gives you three different “brush” sizes (they actually look like little circles) so you can choose one depending on how precise you need to be.
I usually open this app when I want to blur imperfections or blur part of an image (such as a house number, etc).
The app also has an enhance function (I think I look best with the food option hehe) and a ton of filters (similar to ones you may find on Instagram). I don’t usually use any filters since I always brighten and edit my pics beforehand using Pic, Tap, Go.
Phonto App (Free)
Every wonder how people add little water marks to their images on Instagram? I use the Phonto App.
Why would you want to add your Instagram handle to your pictures? Well, first and foremost because people take pictures and then post them on their Instagram as theirs. Sad but true. And I had to learn this the hard way after finding a few of my pictures on other’s accounts while scrolling through Instagram. Adding your handle to your pictures won’t necessarily prevent someone from taking them, but at least your handle will be visible somewhere.
Another reason would be to make sure your handle is visible if someone features your picture on their account (with your permission of course).
Within the Phonto app, I first select an image, skip the filter option by clicking done, and then tap where on the picture I want text. You can then type in whatever you want it to say and edit the font type, color & size. You can also tilt or curve the text to wrap around something on your picture.
There is also an option to save a text and style so you don’t have to type it in every time.
Oh those dreaded graphics… I’m talking picture collages, Pinterest graphics, basically any large image with text or shapes like the one in the intro above.
I read SO many posts on different ways to do this and they were all so confusing. I would have to refer to the blog post every time I was going to do a collage and that just wasn’t feasible. At some point I read somewhere that Canva was free and user friendly so I started using it.
I’ve now used Canva to do collages, graphics and even a baby shower invitation.
Quick steps to do a collage:
1. Save all the images that you want on the collage to your laptop.
2. Open Canva and select create design. Once you do that it will give you a ton of different options such a blog graphic, pintrest graphic, etc. I usually go with Pintrest graphic or Custom Dimensions. All the images on my blog are a certain height & width so I will just choose that as a default.
3. A blank space will pop up where your collage will go. Click on Uploads and search for your images. Once they have uploaded click on each of them to arrange them on the page. You can resize, rotate and move items to the front or back.
4. Resize & move the pictures to arrange them however you want.
5. Click on Text and Elements on the left hand bar to add text, numbers and/or shapes. You can always change the font, size and colors.
Quick Tip: If you want an overlay (see through shape like a rectangle) just insert any shape you want and then play around with the transparency option in the upper right hand corner.
You can follow the same idea if you want to add text and shapes to a picture or if your want a graphic with just text and shapes.
The best part is that there are already templates in there. For instance, when you initially hit Create and then Pintrest Graphic, the side bar has a ton of different options to start with. You can select one and just replace the image with your own and edit the text (see picture below). It definitely helps to get ideas when you are just getting started.
I hope this is helpful to any of you just starting out. Or those of you not as tech savvy like me. Also, please leave any other user friendly image editing tools you use!