Photo-Editing Tools for Social Media Professionals

Mar 24, 2014
Jason Baumann

Photo-Editing Tools

As someone who knows the Adobe Creative Suite pretty well, I never really explored the world of online photo editors. There wasn’t really anything I couldn’t accomplish without this amazing set of tools. But every time a new edition is unveiled, I understand more the plight of those who don’t know them. With this in mind, I am going to look at the two of the top (free) online photo editing tools.

Before we jump into the tools, I would like to talk about some of the advantages of online photo editing packages. Traditionally any photo editing software required massive amounts of space on your hard drive as well as other valuable resources. With online photo tools, these packages are run completely within the browser, so there are no installations and minimal resources required. Photo editing used to be done best on the Mac platform but eventually PC’s progressed to a point where there really wasn’t much of  a difference. Now, with these tools, you can run the software on a Mac, PC or Linux machine without issue as well as on many different tablets.

Pixlr – Of all the free online photo editing packages, I think Pixlr is, by far, the most robust. It really is a close visual replication of Adobe PhotoShop. In fact, many of the keyboard shortcuts are the same. While it looks like its very expensive counterpart, it operates a lot more simplistically. 

You can open existing files from a variety of sources including your computer, Facebook profile and even your camera. Saving files is simple, too. You can save to your hard drive or to one of many online accounts. Another feature I really like is that you are not constrained to a limited number of fonts. Pixlr lets you use any of the fonts that are installed on the local computer.

It was difficult rating these packages, but I really was pleasantly impressed by Pixlr. I think it is useful to anyone from the complete novice to advanced PhotoShop user looking to do quick edits on a tablet. Very impressive.

PicMonkey – PicMonkey is a world of difference from Pixlr. While Pixlr, and several other photo editors, have tried to mimic the look and feel of PhotoShop, PicMonkey went the opposite direction. It created a very simplistic user interface that allowed the most novice of user to pull off some cool effects. It incorporated some very Instragram-like filters and has made photo editing pretty easy. It is nowhere as robust as Pixlr, but it gets the job done.

There are both free and pro versions of this app. I didn’t explore the paid version. The free one worked but was a little annoying to deal with because of the ads on the bottom of the screen.

There are quite a few photo editing packages available. I thought I would look at two. One that was a lot like PhotoShop and the other, no so much. Adobe PhotoShop is an amazing tool. However it is far from user-friendly and requires a minimal investment of $250 for the individual app on Creative Cloud. With these circumstances, there has to be a viable alternative. I think both Pixlr and PicMonkey are that. If you tech-saavy and have played with PhotoShop, check out Pixlr. Otherwise, PicMonkey does the trick.

Is there another tool that you use and would like to recommend? I encourage you to share it below. We would love your insights.

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