Easy photo editing tools

12:56 PM

A little photo editing goes a long way in making an image pop.

Last months, I wrote about free stock photos and how idiotic it is to use other blogger's pictures without their permission.
But, the best you can do is take and use your own pictures. Your blog will gain in personality and you'll have something that is entirely yours to brag about. And guess what? You don't need any super fancy camera and tools to get a great blog picture. You don't even really need to spend a lot of money, or any at all (provided you have a camera, and a computer).

Many bloggers use pictures they snapped directly without editing and wonder why their don't stand out. The secret lies in the photo editing.
It is hopefully no surprise to anyone anymore. We live in a graphic world and the era of digitally enhanced pictures. I know a few blogger's, myself included who in the past did that whole "snap and use as is" thing with pictures. Once upon a time, nobody noticed. But today's blogs are more demanding and the right picture is as important as the right content. Editing your pictures is no longer optional.

The problem, is that photo editing is a big scary term. It is almost always interpreted as "Photoshop" which is a costly and very difficult to use software for a beginner. The good new is that nowaday, you have loads of free and very easy to use options to edit picture. Be it on your mobile phone, tablet or desktop. It need not be the monster that it was meant to be.

On desktop computers, you can use Picmonkey online to do wonderful photo collage and all the basic editing your photos might need. It's free, and you don't even have to download anything. You can upgrade later for their premium add free version.

I myself use my iPad the most. And most of my photo editing tools are on the tablet. I am sure most of them have an Android version you can use on a phone or a android tablet as well.
Here are my favourites :

Adobe Photoshop Mix
It is the most basic features and tools of the world famous photoshop in one easy to use and FREE app. It let you crop pictures, add filters, reduce blur and toggle with the usual brightness/contrast/clarity. I use this app ALL the time, to edit my SLR picture as well as my phone and iPad pictures. It saves everything in the Photoshop cloud without affecting your original file (so if you goof up, you can start all over again). The filters available aren't the best out there at the exception of the Sepia, Cyan and Black and white one.

If you had only one tool to download to do simple edits, this would be my pic.

Photo Editor
This is a free app that contains a few more basic feature than Photoshop Mix. It allows you to add stickers, frams, and text to your images on top of allowing you to adjust the brightness and contrast. It also has a few special effects and correction tools the Photoshop Mix app doesn't have. You need to pay if you want to download extra sets of frames, stickers or filters, but the app has all the strict basics a beginner could hope for. The projects all need to be saved on your camera roll, there is no automatic back up within the app or app cloud.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with that one. It doesn't do any editing as far as brightness and contrast is concerned, but it let you make some photo collage using more than one picture. The catch is that you are limited to the pre-made frames the app offers, and pay and download extra ones. It also doesn't let you edit the size of the individual frames.

This is an app that let you do collage and offer a bit more leeway when it comes to the size of your frames...as long as they are square or rectangle. It lets you create combination of photo cells and text cells and you can even create your very own templates. The app is free to try, but if you plan on saving more than 2 projects, you'll have to pay for it. The price is if I remember well very reasonable at around 120 rupees. While not a super flexible app, it gets you started on basic collage (the picture used on this blog post was made with this app). It is a photo collage app, it doesn't do anything for the brightness and contrast of your pictures though, so edit said pictures in a different app before using this one.

Once you spend time editing those pictures and share them on your blog, the last thing you want is someone snatching them and passing them as their own. iWatermark is a nifty little app that let you watermark them. It has a free version, but I HIGHLY encourage you to go for the cheap paid version. The free version will add an extra watermark letting everybody know which app has been used to do the job. The paid version adds nothing but what you put in the Watermark. Unlike many other apps of the genre, it has a "c" symbol you can use, and the option of creating your own Watermark and saving it for further use.

I encourage you to play around with your choice of app...a lot. Use any picture you have and play with it, as much as you want. This will help you understand all the features.
Most mobile phones camera will take very decent pictures to begin with and all you will need most of the time to make a picture pop is increase the contrast and brightness. I took a great deal of pictures published on this blog with either my phone or iPad. I use my digital SLR when the luminosity in the room is very low or when I need a very clear picture with little grain. The point is you all can take good pictures and make them stand out using very basic tools.

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  1. Anonymous3:14 PM

    Incredibly useful tips for beginner bloggers. Especially me when i don't consider paying for such apps at all. Make the best out of what is free.

    1. There is no point in buying anything when you are just starting editing pictures. And fortunately these days there are a lot of free options that weren't here a couple of years ago.
      Photoshop, or even Corel Paint Shop pro are two pricey software I am glad are no longer the only good options out there anymore.

  2. When you're just starting out, or just have basic editing needs, free is the way to go! I love PicMonkey for my basic editing, because it's quick and easy. I have started using Photoshop now too though, as it's faster to create a photo template when making blog images that you want to have the same look and feel.

    1. I have a very old version of Paint Shop Pro on my old and slow laptop. I use it to do some editing that can't be done as easily from my iPad, and to compress SLR pictures before sending them to the Dropbox. The big pricey software do offers some benefits nut definitely not an expense one has to make immediately.

      I took to make most of my picture square to have some sort of blog unity, and I set Blogsy to display them at a set size whenever I insert one while writing my blog post, that way I don't have to remember what width to select for them.

  3. I use an app called Picsart on my phone, and when I'm on my laptop, I use ribbet.com. :)

    1. I remember downloading picsart on my phone at one point, but sinceot was an entry level, very basic smart phone, there wasn't much storage space and memory and there are other apps I run on the go. That meant I removed it from the phone since I don't do a lot of editing o n the phone anyway. I am planning on getting a new phone in the next few month, one with a great camera and more processor punch, so I'll go back to picart then :-)

  4. Taylor7:16 PM

    Aviary has a full range of different effects and color correctors. Its smart "auto-improving one-touch" will help you create stunning photos. With Aviary pictures can easily be cut (Instagram currently hasnt such function). Or you can use different editors http://besthdrsoftwaremac.com/hdr-software/ for PC


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