It's no secret that visual content on social media drives engagement, but we're not all professional photographers or editors. I'm willing to plead guilty to a few instances of editing images in Paint, but I'm also happy to report that we don't have to be limited to such basic technology. How? With a handful of free photo editing tools, waiting for you to leverage them for creating exceptional visual content!
As marketers and business owners, we have seen first hand that imagery has the potential to tell amazing stories on our brand's behalf.
And the success of visual content makes sense; Did you know that visual information is processed up to 60,000 times faster in the brain than text? But forget speed - 90% of all information we process is visual (Source)
If you're like me, you probably feel that creating exceptional visual content for your brand and website is easier said than done. Sure, it would be great to have the resources to create the kinds of aesthetically astounding content like Red Bull (image credit for masterpiece below) and Oreo.
It's true, we don't hall have an entire team dedicated to creating imagery that solicits thousands of likes and incredible buzz. But that doesn't have to be the end of our visual story.
If you're willing to spend a little time learning the basic functions of a few free tools, you'll have the capability to edit, adjust and improve photos to such a degree you'll have people swearing your're a Photoshop Pro.
And yes, I did say free. The only thing better than something that's free is something that's free and great...and these options are just that.
Ready to get started? Good - here's a list of the very best free tools around:
- Just today, Google+ announced major updates to their already impressive photo editing tool (read about it here on CNET) which will be available in Chrome
Obviously, Google+ is a social network. But unlike, say, Instagram, you can actually edit and upload images privately in Google+ without sharing them with your followers.
To do so, simply create an album in your Photos section (from the left navigation bar), upload your photo and opt out of sharing with any circles (by removing circles and clicking Cancel in the share option). It's so easy you may feel like you've missed a step, but that's it!
From there, you can open your photo and edit using Google's nifty features. If you're not looking to spend too much time, you can use their Auto Enhance tool to improve the picture with recommended settings.
Or, you can flex your creative muscles with options like frames, tilt shift effects, and filters.
- Pixlr is a personal favorite of mine on account of the diversity among it's features. Within their site you have multiple ways to edit, combine and alter images:
- Pixlr Editor
This tool is the most like Photoshop, including features like the eye drop tool, tolerance adjuster, opacity editor, and more.
As an added perk, Pixlr's tools also allow you to save in different formats (PNG, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, PXD) and adjust your JPEG quality to decrease image size.
- Pixlr Express
Love those collages that keep popping up on Instagram and Facebook? Wondering how those darn kids are making them?
There are a ton of apps for creating eye popping collages, I like Pixlr's because it has other features layered on top, like the ability to edit your borders and spacing.
Very similar to Instagram, Pixlr's basic editor provides pre set filters to modify your images quickly and easily.
- Pixlr Editor
- An oldie but goodie! Photobucket has been around since 2003 but got a major revamp in recent years to go from a standard image hosting space to a pretty robust editing platform. You can categorize your photos into folders in Photobucket and edit them to your heart's content with a multitude of features.
Just remember - if you're using Photobucket as your editor and don't want the network's users to see them there, you'll have to set your albums to private in the album settings (you can set a group password if you want select others to have access)
What have you been using for image editing and sharing? Did I miss any goodies? Let us know in the comments below!