A free online photo editor can help you reach your creative goals while staying on budget. For years, one of the most common complaints from graphic designers and digital photo editors alike was that the tools of their trade were prohibitively expensive. Besides the cost of physical equipment like sketchbooks, pens, and cameras, the software required to work in the field could cost thousands of dollars. What’s more, they required pricey upgrades every few years.
Luckily, that status quo has changed. Those working with digital imagery now have access to many excellent and free online photo editors. Below, we have assembled six of the best options, ordered from full-featured editors to highly-specialized tools.
Choosing the Best Free Online Photo Editor
Experienced designers will immediately recognize the name Autodesk. For years, the company has been behind some of the most advanced digital imaging tools for Windows and MacOS. Now, Autodesk’s beloved editing and illustration suite is available as a free online photo editor, known as Pixlr.
If your workflow relies on programs like Sketchbook Pro or Adobe Illustrator, Pixlr could be a near-perfect (and totally free) replacement. Pixlr is ideal for detailed editing of high-fidelity vector graphics. It allows you to create beautiful images and illustrations using any web-connected computer or tablet.
Thanks to Instagram and similar photo-sharing services, most people are now accustomed to spicing up their photography with interesting, artistic filters. The popular free online photo editor BeFunky makes this possible with any photo. Furthermore, it allows you to export the finished product into whatever format your prefer.
For the beginning user, BeFunky defines a variety of preset photo filters, very similar to those available via premium photo filter software like FX Photo Studio. For those with more advanced knowledge of lighting and digital editing, there is also a rich interface that allows for fine-tuned adjustment of things like contrast, saturation, warmth, blue levels, and shadows. Via these controls, users can create their own photo filters, achieving the exact look they desire.
Webflow is yet another full-featured free online photo editor. This one is targeted at those who not only want to edit their photos, but also want to display them in rich website layouts.
Much like BeFunky above, Webflow includes fine-grain controls of image attributes. It gives users the power to customize their images from any web-connected device. But what distinguishes this tool is that it includes an editor for creating photo-intensive web layouts. Users can create fully responsive online photo galleries that mix a variety of images. Furthermore, they can then easily share them with friends or clients. This makes Webflow an ideal all-in-one tool, which can take your work from raw image to final product in record time.
Moving on to the specialized tools, TinyPNG has become the digital design community’s favorite way to optimize its images. Optimization is a key part of any image editing workflow. This is due to the fact that once you have your imagery looking just the way you want it, you are likely to run into issues with sharing it online. Images exported from most tools tend to be very “heavy,” often running several megabytes in size. TinyPNG provides a quick workaround for this common problem.
Simply upload your images to the website and let the app work its magic. You can then download the finished product a few seconds later. More often than not, TinyPNG will reduce your image size by more than 50 percent. Best of all, it is a completely free online photo editor, giving you all the functionality you need for no charge.
TinyPNG is great for sharing finished work with your audience or your clients, but what about sharing raw assets with your teammates? In that case, you can turn to Zeplin, which has become the leader in online design collaboration. It makes a perfect complement to your free online photo editor of choice.
Zeplin’s secret is that it integrates with your local design files (including those you created through an app like Illustrator or Sketch) and uploads the files and their key details to the cloud. That’s where anyone on your team can access them. This is ideal when working alongside other designers. Moreover, it is also great for people like developers and creative directors, who only need raw data like hex colors, CSS rules, and icon downloads. Zeplin auto-generates all of that for you and makes it available to your entire team. Not only that, but Zeplin also includes a “comment” functionality. This way, you can centralize the entire image editing feedback process through the app.
Thanks to free online photo editors like these, you can now move your entire image editing process online. What’s more, you won’t pay a dime for any of the tools you use. That makes this an ideal time to break into image editing if you’ve never tried it, or upgrade your workflow if you’re using old tools.
Of course, there are many other free resources besides those listed above. Which tools do you get the most productivity out of? Let us know!