Looking for some free image and photo editing tools to finish off your great visual content creations?
In this post I share 5 fabulous (and free) image and photo editing tools that are perfect for non-designers – and even designers – to create visual content for their businesses.
BY DONNA MORITZ | PUBLISHED 29 MAY, 2019
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On this blog I often share DIY Design and visual content creation tools. I'm talking about the fun tools that you can use to design and publish awesome creative images. You can find out more about some of them here.
Along with the fun, creative image creation tools and DIY Design tools, it's important to have an image editing tool (or two!) in your toolkit. Let's face it, no one tool does everything and often you find that you need to use a different tool to achieve any of the following:
- resizing and cropping
- adding filters
- compressing and optimizing for publishing
- converting images from one format (ie PDF) to another (ie JPEG)
- and more!
As you can see, image and photo editing tools can be used for a number of purposes to finish off your image, and that's what we're going to dive into in this post. Take a look at some image and photo editing tools that are:
- free to use
- easy to use.
- don't require any email address or sign-up to use.
So let's jump in and take a look at some free tools you can use to edit your finished images ready to publish on your blog or social media. Make sure you stay around for the bonus tool, as it's not one to miss!
5 Free Image and Photo Editing Tools for Non-Designers
Here are a few Image and Photo Editing Tools to add to your toolkit:
I have to say, that Image Resize is one of my most favourite finds in the past year for image and photo editing tools – out of all the tools I talk about on this blog – so that's saying something!
This is a web-based desktop tool. You'll see a few ads on the homepage, but that's a small price to pay for using this tool!:
All you have to do is drag in your image and then you'll be able to set the following parameters for resizing, including:
- Adjust Image – to crop, rotate or flip it if you need to.
- Resize Image Dimensions – you can choose the level of image quality to reduce the file size or you can choose a maximum file size. I really like this option as it usually results in a perfect file size.
- Save Image As – choose the type of image you want to convert to, ie original format, JPG or PNG
The resulting image appears in seconds for you to download, and you'll see instantly the comparison in size – in pixels and kb.
Then it's just a matter of saving and downloading your image.
ImageResize does a lot.. I mean a lot. It has many sub-tools within the main tool. Here is a list of them:
This works very similarly to the Image Resize tool, except you can apply the same functionality to a group of images at once for your photo editing. Need to resize a bunch of blog images? This is an easy tool for the job!
This is another free online tool provided by ImageResize for compressing images without losing image quality. The tool uses advanced compression methods to lower image file size when image and photo editing.
You can use this tool to compress JPG or PNG images, and I have found it to work really well for my blog images.
I haven't used this tool yet but if you have the need to enlarge your images, then this might work. It includes:
- Photo Enlarger – to enlarge photos so their pixel size is bigger. Even though there is some loss of quality this is still very effective in optimizing images while minimising quality loss (again, it's all about algorithms!).
- Upscale to the Exact Size – you can use this tool to change your images up to the exact size by entering height and width of the target size. Or you can zoom by percentage (ie 200%).
With Image Resize's PDF Tools you get the following functions:
- PDF Resize Tool – to change the size of your PDFs
- PDF Compress Tool – to reduce the size of your PDFs (better for emailing and sending).
- PDF Merge – so you can merge two PDFs together
- PDF Rotator – for rotating PDF Files.
- PDF Splitter – to split or extract PDF Pages.
This tool allows you to convert different file types to other file types ie
- PNG to JPG and vice versa.
- PNG to PDF and vice versa
- PDF to JPG and vice versa
- PDF to PNG and vice versa.
Other Things to love about Image Resize's Photo Editing Tools:
Phew, that's a lot of sub-tools for your image and photo editing. Now can you see why I love ImageResize so much? It pretty much does everything you need to chop, change and jazz up your images! Here's a few more reasons to love ImageResize:
It also includes a Meme Generator and Color Picker. I like the Color Picker in particular. It lets you click on any part of an image and find the corresponding Color Code, including Hex, RGB, and CMYK. It's handy for image and photo editing when working with designers or adding your code back to a DIY Design tool.
I actually can't believe that ImageResize is free – I use it for many purposes and love all of the features.
If you stopped reading this article now, you'd be pretty happy with this tool, alone*. And it helps that their team (the founders of Photo Blog) are nice people too.
* but there's more tools coming.. keep reading.
Compressor is another image compression tool that I have used for a few years now for image and photo editing. So, I've added it to my list of free tools for you.
I've featured it before on my blog.
Compressor focuses on one simple funciton – Image Compression and reducing your file size. But if that is all you need it for, then it's a great option. The user interface is pretty slick too. It's almost fun to use.
3. PDF Candy
PDF Candy is an online PDF toolkit consisting of 40+ features that allow you to process PDF files. All of the tools at PDF Candy are absolutely free (online and offline tools).
Again, this is a reasonable “free” replacement for Small PDF which now only allows a 14-day free trial before moving to a subscription model.
PDF Candy is created by Icecream Apps team, and you can upload files from Dropbox, Google Drive or by simple drag-and-drop. You can also add the tools to your “Favorites” for faster access from the index page of the PDF Candy website.
Here's a snapshot of some of the PDF tools included:
Some of the features of PDF Candy include:
- PDF merge, split, compression, rearrange pages, delete pages, crop, rotate, protect/lock and unlock, and more.
- Converting specific document types to PDFs – Word to PDF, PNG to PDF, TIFF to PDF, PPT to PDF, TXT to PDF and more.
PDF Candy works on Mac and PC and I have tested a couple of the tools like PDF to JPEG conversion and it works really well:
4. PDF Editor (for Windows) from Icecream Candy
I'm one of those ‘sometimes' Adobe Creative Suite users. I use it sometimes and not very well (being a non-designer) so I often wonder if my monthly fee is worth it.
But there are a few tools I haven't been able to replace easily, like all the PDF editing tools with Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. I haven't quite found a PDF tool yet that will allow me to ditch Adobe Acrobat Pro for something less expensive.
Icecream Apps may have come close to letting me do just that. Here is a selection of their tools (including PDF Candy), with many of the tools available on Windows and Mac, and some Windows-only tools:
The tool I am watching closely is the PDF Editor. It's currently only available for download and use on a PC with Windows. But it includes some of the tools that you can currently only get on Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, like
- editing PDF files
- editing text and objects
- annotating, draw, and protect.
Check it out in this video:
Hopefully this tool is released for my iMac too, but for now, I'm enjoying playing with it on my Surface Pro laptop.
5. Pixlr X
I was torn as to which tools to include here for No 5. One tool I considered including here was Gimp. It's Open Source and has a lot of grunt behind it for a free tool, but also can have a steep learning curve.
Pixlr is another that my community members have loved using for years. But I have just discovered Pixlr X and I think you'll like it. It's new and Pixlr is encouraging users to check it out. The other added bonus is that Pixlr X doesn't run on Flash like Pixlr X did, so it's faster and built on cutting edge technology.
What is Pixlr X? Pixlr X has new features like:
- faster image and photo editing – and it runs across desktop, tablet or phone. There's also no email registration required.
- Pixlr integrates with Dropbox so you can edit straight from Dropbox.
- easy to navigate tools and ability to make quick image adjustments – crop, resize, cut out and remove backgrounds).
- Retouch images, remove spots and blemishes, remove unwanted objects and edit like a pro.
- Add filters from Pixlr X's section. Or use Pixlr's borders, overlays and shapes to create designs.
- Pixlr automatically saves your work at all times you can always jump back in.
- Pixlr has a great blog, with posts sharing how to use Pixlr X for things like food blog photos. You'll pick up some great tips.
- and more!
Here's an example of the Filter panel in Pixlr where I can change many parameters to edit my photo:
And here's another panel, the Effects panel, where I can instantly add a pre-set effect to my image, like this cool retro look:
You'll notice I've also added some text above. While this post is focused on image and photo editing tools vs tools that let you “design” per se, it should be noted that Pixlr has some cool visual creation tools too, including:
- drawing tools (you can draw and doodle on your images by creating a drawing layer).
- Tools for adding Stickers, shapes, and overlays
- Text overlays with a decent font library
- integration with a stock library (Unsplash)
Pixlr X is obviously not as advanced as most of the popular DIY Design tools but this might prove handy to most non-designers if you want to make quick image and photo edits and maybe add some text.
All in all, it's a good little editor and worthy of inclusion in this list of image and photo editing tools.
Bonus Tool – Remove.bg
I wanted to add this tool here as a bonus as it's a great addition to this list. Remove.bg helps you remove the background of your image (ie transparent png file) with just one click.
Amazing, right? Up until now, we've had to enlist someone with mad Photoshop skills or use a tool that required multiple clicks and fiddling with image borders. Not anymore!
Remove.bg has a very basic free level so it's not entirely a free tool, but the free level will get you started.
It's as simple as uploading your image, clicking “Remove Background” and voila, you have your foreground separated from the background. Previously you could only do people with this tool, but now you can do products, people, and just about any object on a photograph.
Remove.bg has a reasonable pricing structure (compared to sending these off to a designer!), starting at around 20c US for an image on subscription (less if you do them in bulk) and 90c US for pay-as-you-go (again, less if you do them in bulk.
They have also opened up their API recently, allowing tools to add the functionality into their own design software, which is cool. Expect to be removing backgrounds like a wizard everywhere!
Wrapping it up
Now you can take advantage of these free tools to take your visual content to another level. Experiment to see which tool is a best fit for you.
The best thing is – they're free! So you can test and try them without having to add to your business expenses.
Over to You
What image and photo editing tools do you use to take your visual content to a pro-level? Have you tried any of the tools on this list? Let me know in the comments below.
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