In years gone by, you had to be a skilled Photoshop user if you wanted to add amazing effects to your photographs.
That’s not the case anymore. The proliferation of apps like Instagram have allowed anyone to turn even the most mundane image into something Ansel Adams would be proud of.
But Instagram’s extensive library of filters aren’t available to desktop users; it’s primarily designed for usage on mobile platforms. Luckily, there are plenty of sites and web apps that can help you out.
Here are 10 of the best.
Adding “tilt shift” to a photo allows you to introduce a 3D effect, making flat images look like they’re popping out of the page. It’s a process that became commonplace in the 1960s and is now widely deployed by professional photographers.
The process is two-fold. The “tilt” adjusts the orientation of the plane of focus, while the “shift” moves the location of the photo’s subject.
Sounds complicated? If you’re doing the process manually, it is. But TiltShiftMaker lets you deploy the technique with a few simple clicks.
Ribbet has two key features: adding filters and effects, and creating collages.
There are more than 30 effects to choose from, including standard options such as “Sepia,” “Soften,” and “Vignette,” but also some more wacky concepts such as “Silver Screen,” “Fireside,” and “Focal Black and White.”
The collage feature offers an abundance of layouts and designs, perfect for making a memory board of a holiday or family gathering.
You can also add stickers and text to your images.
3. Pixlr Editor
Pixlr shot to fame as an easy-to-use Photoshop alternative, and it’s now grown to be one of the most used photo editing suites on the internet.
The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of software, but if you want to add Photoshop-esque effects, you need to stick to Pixlr Editor. You’ll find plenty of options similar to the Photoshop counterparts, as well as some unique ones such as “Glamour Glow” (below), “Mimic HDR,” and “Night Vision.”
Versions of the app are available for both Android and iOS. And because it’s a web app, it’s also an excellent way to add effects to images you’ve got saved on your Chromebook.
Rollip specializes in Instagram-like effects. There are more than 80 to choose from, and usage of the site is entirely free.
Just pick your effect, upload your photo, and let the web app do its thing. Post-filter editing options are limited; you can add text and change the border, but little else.
Hit Download if you want to save your creation to your hard drive.
Are you a fan of sticking dog tongues and rabbit ears on photos of your friends? Come on; you can do better than that!
As the name suggests, PhotoFaceFun is packed with effects and overlays for portraits and selfies. The range from the famous (like my “Hope” image below) to the ridiculous (who really wants to add their face to the hood of a Ferrari?!).
There are hundreds of styles to choose from. Do you want to superimpose your face onto a Christmas bauble? Easy. Put your partner’s face into the background of a fashion show? No problem.
The premise of PhotoFunia is the same as PhotoFaceFun, except it specializes in using whole photographs rather than just your face.
In the example below, you can see I’ve placed one of my sunny holiday snaps on a ski slope billboard. An interesting juxtaposition, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Like PhotoFaceFun, there are hundreds of backgrounds and concepts you can apply.
Pictonize is simple to use; upload your photo, choose your desired effect, and voila.
The effects themselves are split into four categories; Cool Effects, Shape Effects, Levels Effects, and Grayscale Effects. Each of the four categories has about 500 effects to choose from, giving you a total of nearly 2,000 unique filters you can apply.
In my example image, you can see I used an image from a soccer match I went to, then applied the team’s colors in stripes over the top.
BeFunky lets you hip and trendy effects to your photos, rather than the usual fare of “Soften,” “Cool,” etc.
There are tools for turning your image into a cartoon, an impressionist painting, a pop art likeness, and lots more.
Sadly, the images come with a watermark in the bottom left-hand corner. However, it’s easy to get around the problem by either pasting your snap onto a larger canvas before you upload it, or editing it in Photoshop after you’ve downloaded the end product.
Glitter Photo is all about making things sparkle. It’s a perfect tool for people who want to add some glitz and glamor to their social media profile pictures. You can add both shiny text and background effects.
The glittery effects can either be downloaded as a static image or saved as a GIF file if you want to include some animation.
If glitter isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of regular effects for you to try out.
I’ll conclude the list with PhotoMania. It’s got tons of cool Instagram-like effects you can add to your snaps, but I’ve included it in the article specifically for its e-Card creation tool.
The e-Card options are subdivided into holidays, seasons of the year, and special days like Halloween and Easter. Within each category, you can pick different designs, borders, and themes.
A version of the app is also available on Android, iOS, and Chrome.
Which Web Apps Do You Use?
I’ve shown you ten of my favorite web apps for adding filters and effects to your photos, but now it’s your turn.
Which sites do you head to when you want to give your snaps a lift? Do you routinely use any of my selections?
As always, you can leave your tips and suggestions in the comments box below.
Image Credit: wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock.com