If we were to be judged by the amount of photos we take on a regular basis, most people would qualify as photographers. Today, almost everyone owns a digital camera, either as part of a mobile phone or in the form of a dedicated device. Taking pictures has become something everybody can do. Anytime. Anywhere.
Taking lots of pictures of course doesn’t mean they are any good. Professional photographers know that often the real work is done in post-processing. While the goal of every photographer is to take the perfect snapshot that requires zero editing, the manifold tools that are available can also be a source of great entertainment for the hobby picture takers. Not only can you improve your photos by adjusting the frame, correcting blemishes, or changing the color, you can also add cool effects and fun elements.
In case you were hoping to find an online alternative to Photoshop…voilà, you have just found it! Aviary currently is the most powerful image editor suite on the net. Moreover, it is very easy and intuitive to use. Advanced features are available through separate tools, which helps to keep the option madness at bay. Best of all, you can start customizing your photos right away, signing up is not required.
It all starts with a photo. To start customizing with the basic editor on the front page, simply upload your photo or paste the URL via the respective button in the top right. In the next step you can choose from several great features for customizing photos, for example whiten (teeth), red-eye (removal), blemish (correction), resize, and sharpen.
If you want to make more advanced changes, scroll down and load one of the advanced creative tools
For a more detailed review of Aviary’s advanced creative tools, check out this MakeUseOf article: Edit Images Online with The Aviary Photo Editor Suite. Also check out , Aviary’s HTML5 photo editor and our review about it: Feather – A Light, Simple But Powerful HTML5-Based Online Photo Editor.
If you’re looking for something that has more out of the box effects to customize your photos with, have a look at FotoFlexer. It may not make much an impression at first sight. Once you’re in, however, you will notice what a great tool it is! No signup is required, there’s a simple interface, it’s easy to use, and it’s packed with features.
You can start by uploading a photo from your hard drive or edit photos from a selection of photo customizing sites, including Flickr, Facebook, or Picasa. For this demonstration, I connected FotoFlexer to my Flickr account.
After you select a picture, the image editor loads and you can start having fun. You can choose from several different tabs, including a basic editor, effects, layers, and geeky stuff, meaning more advanced editing.
BeFunky is one of these tools that look super simplistic at first sight, but then turn out to offer way more than expected. The root to this first impression is the minimalistic, almost oversimplified interface. What hides behind it, however, is a range of options and a fast engine that allows almost instant changes.
Pictures can be uploaded, downloaded, printed, or shared via the respective buttons in the top right. What they hide is that you can connect to several networks to collect or spread your images. Via the respective buttons in the top left you can switch between the edit and create mode. Editing refers to basic image editing, i.e. cropping, resizing, adjusting color etc. Creating is everything else, i.e. adding effects, frames, text, and other goodies. Each selection changes the available features in the sidebar.
The only drag I found with BeFunky is that you are constantly reminded that there is a pay version by the ‘Upgrade Now’ button in the bottom right and the many ‘Premium Effects’ that are only available with the upgrade. While there are free items for every single of the dozens of effect categories, it’s a nagging reminder that you could get access to even more.
A tool that looked promising, but turned out to be very slow was Picture2Life. Creating a free account is optional and it offers a huge amount of quick fixes, effects, and adjustments. Unfortunately, the interface is not as intuitive as that of other tools and it takes forever to make changes. If you are looking for the tool with the most features though, do give it a spin!
If you’re willing to register to access a tool that provides many one-click effects, try out flauntR.
With so many great tools available online, do we really still need software for customizing photos? What photo customizing sites do you prefer to use?
Image credits: Marynchenko Oleksandr