Free image editing tools

The graphics you use on your blog and social media do a lot to bring attention to your website. A well crafted image will bring attention to your posts. Making great graphics is a challenge if you don’t know how. Fortunately, there are some very simple and free image editing tools to use to make appropriate graphics for your blog and social media.

Use these tools after writing your blog post or when you have something you want to say on social media and an image is appropriate. It’s hard to craft an image to match your message when you don’t have a message prepared.

To start with, use my post on finding free images to use on your website to locate the images you would like to use in your posts. Some tools make it easy to find images through their interface, but not all of those are free. I find it easier to import an image I’ve found elsewhere than to use the search function on these sites.

Online Free Image Editing Tools

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark does a great job with images, but you can also make videos with it. I haven’t tried that feature personally, but it strikes me as very useful if you’d like to get into video.

When you decide to create an image with Adobe Spark, it first offers you a range of templates. You can pick one or start from scratch. I usually start from scratch.

Type in what you want your image to say. You can edit this later. Pick your graphic size. You may not be able to pick the exact size you want – these aren’t always clear, but you can resize them later, in Gimp if necessary. I usually shrink them, as Spark makes huge images for most things.

Even though you’re starting from scratch, it will present you with an image with your text on top. You can change this however you want, replacing the photo with one of your own, changing the layout of the text and so forth. You can add another section of text, use multiple images to form a collage, and more.

One of the tools I like on Spark is the Style Suggestions tool. Spin the dial and your text will change over and over and over. Stop when you see one you like. Even then, you can change the colors if you like the style, but the colors aren’t quite what you like. You can back up on the dial if you pass one you liked.

Spark has a bit of a learning curve, but overall I like the results I get from it best so far. As free image editing tools go, it’s quite good. The Share button is also where you download your image, which isn’t immediately obvious, but not too difficult.

One disadvantage to Spark is that it may add branding of its own to your images. If you share your images on social media, this is removed. This doesn’t happen much on the website, but may be more common on the app. The ability to remove the Spark branding.

Another disadvantage is the lack of an undo button. This can be spectacularly annoying.

On the plus side, you can create one image, and then resize it for different social media uses. I love this, because it becomes easier to be consistent across the different social media sites.

Website
iOS App
Android – coming soon

Canva

Canva can be used to make a wide variety of graphics, and the basics are free. There are parts you can pay for, but you can make some beautiful blog and social media graphics completely free.

I don’t like to search for images on Canva because a lot of them are not free. I prefer to upload a photo I’ve taken or something I’ve found on a site that offers Creative Commons Zero (CC0) images. Once they’re uploaded, there’s a lot you can do with them.

Canva offers templates for various popular uses, such as images for Instagram. Their template page has templates sized for Facebook headers, YouTube channel art, Twitter posts and more. Having a template when you’re making social media graphics is useful, especially if it’s something you don’t make often, such as a header.

I find Canva quite intuitive to use. It has a decent selection of fonts – not huge, but not bad. You can change the colors around easily.

As online free image editing tools go, Canva is my second favorite. I use it when Spark isn’t working out for what I have in mind.

Website
iOS App
Android – not available

PicMonkey

PicMonkey has a decent suite of tools you can use on images in the free version, but they push the premium version hard. You can edit your image, including crop, rotate, sharpen, touch up and more. You can make a collage with multiple photos. They even offer printing services (for a fee, of course).

Adding text is easy, as is adding other features to your images. Once you’re done, download it for whatever use you have in mind.

If you want to try the premium version of PicMonkey, they offer a free trial. I haven’t used PicMonkey as much as Spark or Canva, but I know a lot of people love it.

Website
iOS App
Android

Piktochart

Piktochart’s focus is on infographics. If you have an idea for an infographic, it makes a lot of sense to use a tool that is ready for that. I haven’t tried it personally, but when I read up on it, people like it fairly well. It has some great tools, such as a chart builder that can take your data and make it into a chart on your infographic.

Website
iOS App
Android – not available

Visme

Visme is more robust in many ways if you want to make infographics. You can use it to make animated or interactive infographics, something you can’t do with Piktochart. It’s a little harder to learn, from what I read about it, but it’s more powerful once you know what you’re doing.

Visme has a basic plan which is free and allows you to store up to three projects. So long as you aren’t storing a lot in there, I don’t think that will be a problem, since you should usually download your work once it’s done.

Website
No apps

Free Image Editing Software For Your Computer

Gimp

Gimp has an awful name, but it does a great job editing your photos. I often use it for final touches on projects I’ve worked on with an online tool. It has been my main tool for making graphics for many years.

Gimp has a lot of addons that make it extremely flexible. Many people compare Gimp to Photoshop. It’s not quite as powerful as Photoshop, but free is much easier to handle for most people than paying for Photoshop. You can do most of the same things.

Gimp is open source, so various developers had created plugins and more for it. You can find some interesting Gimp addons at the DeviantArt site. Pay attention to the terms of use for these. It can also use Photoshop plugins.

One of the big things I love about using Gimp is that I can keep some images ready to use. I have images ready to use to put my domain name on each image, so that where it comes from is apparent. You can use this for branding, creating a version of your logo that goes onto any image you create. Then it’s a quick copy and paste to add it to new images. Make it bigger than you need. It’s easier to size an image down than up.

Paint.NET

Paint.NET is much simpler to use when compared to Gimp, but can still do a good job. It was originally intended to replace Microsoft’s Paint, but it does a lot more. It has the ability to use layers and filters, for example.

If you want something on your computer that’s easy to use, this is probably the one.

If you’ve found it intimidating to make your own graphics for your blog and social media, I hope one of these will prove to be helpful. They won’t do the work for you, but the right one will make it easier. Are there other tools you like?