We look at five low-cost or free image editing tools to help small businesses create perfect images for both offline and online marketing campaigns.
Images play a vital role in the small business owner’s marketing arsenal. Well-chosen photos make marketing materials more engaging, and the right product pictures can help increase small business ecommerce sales.
Creating the perfect image doesn’t have to be a challenge or cost a fortune. A variety of image editing tool can help you turn your pictures into valuable small business assets. We look at three free image-editing tools that work with any operating system. Plus, we look at two low-cost image editing tools—one for Windows and one for Mac.
You have several options for editing photos in LunaPic. You can upload photos directly to the website, or you can enter a URL for pictures you may already have stored online. You can access existing photos by logging in to Dropbox, Facebook, Picasa, and a host of other popular platforms.
Once you load a photo, LunaPic offers a number of treatments to perfect it. Add animations, drop in text, or access more sophisticated features such as controlling color temperature and adding watermarks.
Tweak and improve portraits using tools designed just for photos of people, including redeye reduction and a skin smoother. You can also blend two images to get the exactly final resultyou want.
LunaPic is entirely web-based; no need to download software to make it work. Easy-to-use editing tools offer clearly-defined menus and icons.
LunaPic is free to use.
Pixlr lets you pull images from a number of existing online libraries, or you can upload photos to the platform’s website.
A combination of quick-access icons houses many of the most commonly used editing tools. You’ll find more advanced commands, such as pixelation, saturation and others, under the menu bar. Blur, sharpen, sponge, and burn tools let you give each picture its own flair. You can improve portraits using Pixlr’s redeye reduction and spot-healing tools.
You can resize the on-screen image to enlarge the portions you’re working on for better visibility. It’s also easy to select part of an image, and then clone it to use in other sections of the picture.
Entirely web-based, Pixlr works with any computer operating system and costs nothing to use.
Ribbet‘s advanced touch-up effects—including eyeliner, eye shadow, and an eyebrow pencil—make improving portraits easy.
Use the photo-collage tool to define just the right layout, and drop in a selection of favorite pictures. Small businesses that work around seasonal schedules can take advantage of holiday effects, while textures and overlays quickly change the look of any image.
Ribbet stores a full history of the changes you make to each photo. It’s a handy feature if you want to mimic something from a past marketing campaign or revise previous changes to match updated needs.
Ribbet is free and works right in your browser. No need to download and install any software.
The powerful Corel PaintShop Pro X8 suite lets you relocate objects or even people within a photo. Cutting tools offer a way to easily extract portions of images. Remove them completely from the photo or move them to another picture.
You can add watermarks and other elements in batches, which makes image editing extra fast. Want to add text to your images? PaintShop Pro X8 makes it simple to insert; you can even define an area and wrap text around it.
The image-editing software’s fill and blending tools make improving image backgrounds simple, while brushes and preset shapes help you create the right look. The platform’s built-in social features make sharing your images on social media fast and easy.
PaintShop Pro X8 supports Windows only. It costs $64.99 on Corel’s website, but you might find a lower price at Amazon and other retailers.
Boasting a comprehensive list of features, Pixelmator includes effects to distort, sharpen, and stylize images. It also lets you scale, rotate, flip, or skew photos quickly.
The painting engine in Pixelmator allows for several jitter styles. An eyedropper tool gives you the option to select colors directly. It even supports Adobe Photoshop brushes.
The program also offers a wide variety of tile designs along with stylize options—from rain and snow to spotlights and comics. In addition, you can finely control reflections and shadows—both inner and outer.
Available only for Mac and iOS devices, Pixelmator costs $29.99 in the Mac App Store.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology
magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has
covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from food service to
insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractormagazine.
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