“Best photo editing sites?” you say. “You can do that on the Internet these days?”
Indeed! But that shouldn’t be surprising these days, should it?
Just carrying around a smart phone makes it easier than ever before to take digital photos anywhere and anywhen — it’s one of the greatest gifts of modern times (or curses if you’re prone to “friends” taking embarrassing photos of you and sharing them with everyone on Facebook). For many of us, manipulation of a resulting image ends at maybe throwing it through an Instagram filter, posting it online, and being done with it.
And then there are those of us who like to do a little more with our captured people and places. Some of us might not be professional photographers, but we like to tinker with resizing, cropping, color correcting, captioning, or just adding (or taking away) something that goes beyond what the lens gave us at the time a photo was taken. On an amateur level, it doesn’t make sense to invest in an expensive suite like Adobe CS6 (which includes industry favorite Photoshop) that probably “lives” on one computer. And in keeping with the “on-the-go” nature of spontaneous photography with whatever camera we happen to have on hand at the moment, wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to manipulate images similarly anywhere and anywhen?
With access to a Web browser, this is absolutely possible. Thus, we give you what we’ve found to be 10 of the best photo editing sites of 2013 — in no particular order, as we hate playing favorites.
Do you like your favorite photo editing sites to feature “photo editing made of win?” If so (which I think, after all, is reasonable to assume), then PicMonkey may well be worth your while. This site allows you to crop, rotate, sharpen, resize, modify exposure, and color your pictures. There’s even an “auto adjust” button for those among us who like to keep things as simple as possible.
PicMonkey is free, and no registration is required, but you can upgrade to PicMonkey Royale “for as little as $2.75 a month” to get “a kingly hoard of primo effects, fonts, overlays, and textures.” Just a glance at what passes as kingly in the parlance of the PicMonkey keepers seems to certify such an upgrade as quite reasonable.
Pixenate, designed for photo sharing and photo printing businesses, gives you the power of basic photo editing and special effects that you’ll find on most photo editing sites in addition to plenty of truly unique features.
If you’re working with a portrait and your choppers are looking a little dingy, you can even whiten ’em up with Pixenate’s whitening tool. If your eyes are red and make you look like some kind of demonic hellchild, there’s a tool for fixing that, too. As an added bonus, you can print its end results onto mousepads, t-shirts, bags, and mugs.
Pixenate is simple, and Pixenate is free.
The festive (phestive?) Phixr offers the stable of usual simple effects that the other photo editing sites do, along with a few unusual features, like speech bubbles, a quick meme generator, collages, object overlays, borders, and more.
You can pull in photos from Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket, Picasa, and SmugMug, and the site even tailors some of its effects around whatever holiday or season happens to loom near. At the time of this writing, Easter is just around the corner, so Pheggsr: the photo eggspert is on deck. Phixr is fairly low-frills, as expected from a free service, and registration is encouraged, but not mandatory.
Sumopaint is very much like a simplified Photoshop in its interface, so if you’re familiar with the famous industry standard, then Sumopaint should seem like an old friend once you buckle in to your seat and get behind the controls. Even if you’ve never used Photoshop, though, you should catch on to Sumopaint pretty quickly. It’s friendly and intuitive enough to ensure that a first-timer is comfortable and able to accomplish some pretty amazing photo magic with the greatest of ease.
The Web version of Sumopaint is Flash-based and free, but there is a free iPad app if you prefer to take that route. If you want more features and support, there’s Sumopaint Pro for a one-time fee of $9, and Sumopaint Pro Plus, which gives you everything that Pro gives you in addition to an offline Desktop app for a one-time fee of $19.
If you’ve ever wanted to picture yourself in a boat on a river (just to throw an idea out there), LunaPic might be one way to do so. This photo editing site lets you crop, scale, add text, add from more than 200 effects, and even — my favorite — add animations with no fuss or muss, and it includes plenty of tutorials to help you out if you lose your way.
LunaPic is as free as Desmond Tutu’s conscience at bedtime, and as pleasant to use as the gentle touch of a rose petal to the cheek.
In the words of FotoFlexer itself, it is “the world’s most advanced online image editor.” I’m not 100% convinced that this is the case, but it’s still pretty good. With this photo editing site, you can edit photos from Picasa, Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, MySpace, and even “more places.” Like Machu Picchu? Kalamazoo? Llanfairpwllgwyngyll? Toronto? The belly button of a breaching humpback whale?
Do humpback whales even have belly buttons? I tried to find the answer once, but I was chided for the question not being “tech enough.”
FotoFlexer, like most on this list of the best photo editing sites, is free.
Continuing on with the best photo editing sites we could find, iPiccy (not to be confused with iCePicky, which is another service — presumably for finding hit men) offers the standard roster of image enhancements, including one-clock photo fixing, an easy way to crop and rotate, exposure fixes, color tweaking, professional-level retouching, and the ability to add text, stickets, and layers.
iPiccy is free, and registration is not required.
Unless you’re using its iOS app, Pixlr is another Flash-based photo editing site that unapologetically tells us that “98% of all computers have Flash, so you are probably set.” 98%? Heck, maybe the FAQ is as old as that actually being a fact. Anyway…
Pixlr includes Pixlr Editor (for the advanced user; it’s the pretty standard “Photoshoppy” treatment), Pixlr Express (for those seeking a more efficient interface), and Pixlr-o-matic (this one’s more playful and Instagram-like). Pixlr (and its apps) are free.
Though the question “Where’s your photo at?” makes the English major in me cringe when I go to upload an image to edit in the BeFunky interface, it is a pretty sharp addition to the best photo editing sites list. It’s got effects, frames, and goodies — which may, we are warned, contain unicorns.
The online version of BeFunky is free, but if you want a version for your smart phone, The BeFunky Photo Editor Pro app is $1.99 on Google Play for Android, and $1.99 on the Apple App Store for iOS. [Update: There is also a free BeFunky app available!]
Photoshop Express Editor
Well, it always comes back to Adobe Photoshop in some way or another, doesn’t it? Hey, there’s a reason that Adobe is able to charge a premium for its software: it can be used to do just about anything with your images — from the simple to the sublime — as long as you aren’t intimidated by its endless bells and whistles. But, amazingly, there is a free version of this popular choice online!
If you’re familiar with the Photoshop way of doing things, then you should acquaint yourself with Photoshop Express Editor at Photoshop.com, the stripped-down — and more intuitive — photo editing site version. There are also free apps for your smart phone if that’s how you like to do things.
What do you think are some of the best photo editing sites of 2013? Please feel free to leave a comment below, as even a top 10 list is likely to miss a few!