You surely know that old saying about pictures being worth a thousand words. If you plan to market online, you’ll find that good graphics can help engage your audience and make your business platform appear professional. Photos of your yourself, your business, your employees, and even your customers can help you tell your company’s stories in a quicker and more interesting way.
You don’t always need to spend a lot of money on professional services or expensive software to offer graphics either. You can find plenty of quality photo editing tools online that are either free or very inexpensive.
Affordable Photo Editing Tools
Why do you need photo editing tools? If you take photos with your phone or a digital camera, you’ll probably find that most of them need some editing. You might need to crop or resize them to make them fit on a website and conserve bandwidth. In some cases, you may find that you need to darken or brighten them to enhance their appeal. It’s always challenging to capture the perfect photo. If you have the right software, you may be able to create the perfect picture from less perfect originals.
To help you get started, here is a list of photo editing tools that are easy to use and won’t strain your marketing budget.
Photo Editing Software
Of course, Adobe Photoshop usually gets mentioned as the gold standard of graphic editors, and they’ve since made individual subscriptions more affordable (an individual photography subscription costs $10 a month). However, if you don’t have a computer that supports this program or if you’re still a beginner and not ready to use all of the software included, here are some other affordable tools to help you get started. Best yet, these two open-source software programs are free:
- GIMP: Also known as the GNU Image Manipulation Program, this software has been around a long time. There is a large support community. You can learn about GIMP at Gimp.org.
- Paint.net: You download Paint.net at GetPaint.net. It’s not clear why the name of the software doesn’t actually reflect the domain name. Still, you can enjoy simple and full-featured graphics software that won’t cost a dime.
Note that third-party developers have contributed plugins that can help you do more with your software. Some of these are free and some are available with a one-time fee.
Online Photo Editors
If you’d rather not download software, you can work with an online photo editor that should suit your needs. One option is Adobe Photoshop Express. Expect the basics with online software that’s almost as easy to use as applying Instagram filters. If you want more functionality, you can make in-app purchases or eventually decide to upgrade to Photoshop.
If you’d rather use a full-featured online photo editor right from the start, consider using Pixlr. You can visit the site at Pixlr.com and start using it for free right away. Users say it’s almost as powerful and fast as the better software options that you can download free. Your browser must support Flash, so you probably need to use it on a desktop or laptop.
Phone-Based Photo Editors
These days, cell phones probably get used to take pictures as much as they get used to make phone calls. Some mobile phones come with pretty good cameras. It’s only natural to consider mobile photo editing software to avoid having to keep uploading and downloading pictures just to edit them.
You can find apps from both Adobe Photoshop Express and Pixlr that will run on your phone. The Pixlr version is called AutoDeskPixlr, and the Adobe app is just called the Photoshop Express App. There are versions for Android, iOS, and Windows mobile operating systems.
If you want to improve portraits, you might also consider the Facetune app. The app can clear blemishes, widen smiles, and even whiten teeth. The app is also available for the most popular phone operating systems. For more artistic shots, check out VSCO, Afterlight, andEnlight.
You might have to pay a modest one-time fee for some of these phone apps. Others offer you basic functions for free or rely upon paid upgrades to generate revenue.
How to Choose the Best Software for Photo Editing
You can find lots of good or inexpensive software to edit photos. Most of these selections allow you to use or at least try basic features for free. As with most software, your best choice depends upon what you want to use the software for, the device you plan to use it on, and your own preferences.
If you’re new to photo editing, you may find that the online software helps you get started faster. If you’re willing to spend a little time reading free tutorials or have used graphics programs in the past, you may prefer the speed and extra features you can enjoy with downloadable software. You have the option of testing your photo editing skills with a few different choices to see which one gives you the result you desire. However, if you find that none of these work for you, consider investing some of your finances into premium tools.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. When not in the small business world, Constantina loves cooking, baking, going on hikes, and playing with her cat and chinchilla.