Original Image source

Welcome to my search for the best online photo editors. As we all know, Picnik.com is closing down. And if your like me you were left wondering, what will I do for an alternative? While many would argue (and I wouldn’t disagree) Photoshop is the best, lets face it, for some of us that isn’t an option. And sometimes your just looking for a quick and easy way to enhance your photos.

Read Part Two: Best Online Photo Editor Series – Pixlr-O-Matic, Pixlr, Pixlr Express, Photobucket

To make it easier for you, I did an extensive search and tracked down more than a handful of photo editors worth shouting about. There are many, many options out there. I will list my top picks and my experience with them in this series of posts. Rather than judge one photo editor against another, this will help you judge them based on your experience levels and what you are looking for.

My Experience:
I’m an intermediate photo editor user. I’m familiar with what most editing functions and tools do, although have not mastered or tried all of them i.e. I cannot seamlessly put Angelina Jolie’s head on a mermaids body while it rides a dragon, ok? Lets get that straight. I havent learn those skills yet, but I know enough to get by.

To make this a fair review I:

  • Selected a general list of criteria that you might use to judge what you are looking for, and judged each editor accordingly.
  • Spent a minimum of one hour exploring the features of each editor. You’re welcome.

Le List:
Online or Download: Is it available via download or online?
User: Beginner, intermediate or advanced. Who is it good for?
Freebie or Subscription: Is it free? Does it offer paid premium features?
15 minute rule: If you knew very little, what could you do in 15 minutes?
Feature love: Any standout features?
Filters: Wide range of filters? Customisable or preset?
Worth Shouting About: Anything fun or awesome I should mention?
Linked sites: Can you link to Facebook, Picasa, Photobucket, etc?
App:If I love it enough, is there an app to match?
My take: My final impressions, what you might like to know.
Look Mummy, look what I did!: Some photo edits attempted by me.


Online or Download: Download
User: All users. This is best for intermediate/advanced users. Beginners may find this more of a headache to start with, but it’s straight forward to learn with the help of tutorials.
Freebie or Subscription: Free
15 minute rule: Chances are a beginner will accomplish very little in that time. Following a tutorial might help. If you’re looking for a quick fix then this might not be for you. Advanced users will know enough of the general functions to do what they need to.
Feature love: What’s not to love. This has more capabilities and features than you can poke a stick at, just check online for how-to’s.
Filters: I counted around 100 ready to go, preset filters in the menu. These are not like what you’d be used to at Picnik however.
Worth Shouting About: Just about everything, actually. Check out the very first Gif I ever created using GIMP, below.
Linked sites: No. This is a downloadable program and does not give you the option to directly link to other websites.
Apps: Yes. I wish I knew more about this to be able to review it more but a quick Google search reveals there is a portable app available. I have not tried it.
My take: I give GIMP hands down 10/10. It’s not a quick fix and takes a bit of learning, but well worth the trouble.
It is not as fancy ‘looking’ as other image editor programs, but make no mistake it can do so much more than Picnik could. It can be frustrating to use at first for beginners, hey even I hated it at first. But if you’re looking for Photoshop type capabilities without the price tag, this is for you.
Take the time to learn the basics and you will then be free to create anything you can imagine.There are countless tutorials available online and on Youtube for those wanting to get their foot in the door. Check out a quick features rundown at Gimp.

Look Mummy, look what I did!: To show its awesomeness, I created a Gif image from scratch. I simply followed the first tutorial I came across. Creating the layers took me about 30 mins, the actual animation took less than 10 minutes to figure out.

Aviary Phoenix
(Full Website – http://advanced.aviary.com/)

Online or Download: Online
User: All users. This might not be a beginners cup of tea with all its advanced tools, but anyone can learn. Intermediate to advanced users will find this has everything you need.
Freebie or Subscribe: Free Willy!
15 Minute rule: With a little general knowledge about photo editing – layers, magic wand, selection, etc – a beginner could navigate around to edit a photo relatively easily. If you’re not farmiliar with these tools, you would be limited. There is no obvious “Press Here To Create Instant Awesomeness” buttons.
Feature love: This type of interface reminds me a little of GIMP, with all the basic tools and a lot of options. You could achieve great things with this editor.
Filters: On first inspection there didn’t appear to be many filters, but then I discovered the ‘Filter Layer in Peacock’ option which takes you to a wide range of filter options. In fact, the Effects Editor can be opened as a suite on its own.
Worth Shouting About: Besides the capabilities of the image editor itself, Aviary has an entire suite full of tools to give you what you need. You will find, Screen Capture, Music Creator, Audio Editor, Vector Editor, Image Markup, Effects Editor, Swatch Editor. Yup. That many. I’m excited too.
Linked Sites: Flickr, Picasa, Facebook.
Apps: Yes, an online app. You can edit your Facebook photos as shown in the screenshot below from my Facebook. Just search Aviary Photo Editor on Facebook. How many times can I fit Facebook into one paragraph? Facebook. Five.

My Take: This gets 10/10 from me. Just focusing on the editor alone, this is a great option that will give you what you need to create amazing photos and so much more. Admittedly I was a little lost trying to experiment with the editor, but that’s not a bad thing.
It’s not as straight forward as other editors, but well worth it if you take the time to learn the basics. If you doubt the brilliant things this is capable of, check out some Aviary creations. Picnik who?

(If you get stuck downloading your image to your computer like I did check here.)

Look Mummy, look what I did!: Best of friends, my two eldest sons. The effects here are nothing special, Black & White, I just love this photo in its simplicity.

Photoshop Express

Online or Download: Online
User: Beginner, maybe intermediate. This is a very simple online photo editor that will do all the basics for you. There are no advanced features to be found.
Freebie or Subscription: Free as a bird.
15 minute rule: A beginner could quickly edit and save more than a handful of photos. It’s an incredibly simple process and the layout makes it relatively easy to figure it out in no time.
Feature love: The easy one-button fixes. This editor takes out all the guess-work for you and gives you a few options to choose. Also, simply hovering your mouse over an option will select it for you. It’s a quick and lazy way to go back and forth to see which effect you like the best.
Filters: There are 15 effects and adjustments, and roughly each of those gives you different of levels on intensity.
Worth Shouting About: A personal favourite trick, it can make up for where your camera lacks with a few super simple mouse clicks. The white balance for example, will give you a few options to get that colour right if your camera just won’t behave. There is also the option to sign up to keep an online upload library at your fingertips.
Linked sites: Once you’re done with your image there’s the option to share it with Photoshop.com, Facebook, Picasa, Photobucket and Flickr.
App: Yes. Look for Photoshop Express in iTunes or Android Market.
My take: This is a good photo editor. I have used it from time to time when I just want a super quick way to touch up colour or tweak a photo. Overall if you’re looking for user-friendly, quick edits this is a great option for you. I also have the app on my iPhone and use it occasionally as well. I use it to saturate more colour into photos or fix exposure.

Look Mummy, look what I did!:Two minute photo edit, quick and easy. Original photo and Pop Color effect.

Original Image Source


Online or Download: Online
User: Beginner/Intermediate. This is very user-friendly and straightforward to use, but lacks in feature depth for advanced users.
15 minute rule: Beginners could edit a bunch of photos, no fuss. It’s as simple as clicking options to apply or undo effects. Save when your done. Easy.
Feature love: There isn’t one particular feature that stands out to me.
Filters: There are a good range of filters for instant effects. I count 36 preset filters. These are also adjustable.
Worth Shouting About: If you miss the easy touch up and filters of Picnik you will like this. Teeth whiten, airbrush, eye brightener. All your favourites are there.
Linked sites: No.
App: No
My take: This is the closest ‘clone’ to Picnik I have come across in my search (so far). And from what I read, former Picnik staffers have been involved in its creation so that makes a lot of sense. It is nowhere near as in-depth as Picnik but mirrors a lot of your favourite features. And from what I see there is extras to come soon – collages and more.
The down side is some of the filters have the PicMonkey logo stamped in the corner which is annoying. Future option for paid premium features later on perhaps? Overall this is a great photo editor if you looking for variety and speed. It is fool-proof editing and its speediest.

Look Mummy, look what I did!: I took a photo of my favourite earrings, and simply increased saturation and applied the Cross Process filter.

Hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions I’d be more than glad to help out as much as I can. I have a list of almost 30 photo editors to experiment with all for you! Part 2 of the Best Photo Editors series coming soon…

Read Part Two: Best Online Photo Editor Series – Pixlr-O-Matic, Pixlr, Pixlr Express, Photobucket

PicMonkey Photo editing made of win

29 Comments on Best Online Photo Editor Series: Part 1 – GIMP, Aviary Phoenix, Photoshop Express, PicMonkey

  1. LA Edwards
    April 20, 2012 at 5:58 am (6 years ago)

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing. And I especially like the camera earrings!

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      April 20, 2012 at 6:00 am (6 years ago)

      Thank you so much I’m glad you liked it. Those earrings are my favourite, so quirky ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Online Photoshop
      September 17, 2014 at 8:19 am (3 years ago)

      really thanks for sharing the photo editors.

      • Beautiful Kayekie
        October 2, 2014 at 3:21 am (3 years ago)

        My pleasure! I hope this was helpful for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Ana
    April 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm (6 years ago)

    Hi Kayekie! Thanks for liking my post! You have a beautiful blog and great source of information. Look forward to your posts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      April 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you so much Ana, I’m thrilled you find my blog useful. My number one reason for blogging is to help, I’ve always turned to blogs when I’m looking for something so this is my attempt to give back ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to writing more posts for you.

  3. alex
    June 8, 2012 at 10:28 am (6 years ago)

    If you like drawing and painting and looking for best online application for this, please pay attention on flavion.com It’s better then all list above

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      June 8, 2012 at 11:14 am (6 years ago)

      Thanks for the tip Alex, I will include it for review with my list of photo editors.

  4. Cooper
    June 25, 2012 at 9:27 am (6 years ago)

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s invaluable to me as a new blogger, and I have spent the last couple of hours playing around with the applications you listed. โ™ฅ
    I am looking forward to a part 2. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am also curious, do you store your photos locally or do you use an online image host?
    Again, thank you for the great info you are sharing on your beautiful blog. I love it. Subbed! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      June 25, 2012 at 11:56 pm (6 years ago)

      Hi Cooper thank you for your comment, I’m really glad this was useful for you! It’s been a long time coming but I am working on the rest of the series and hopefully it will be posted soon. I hope you were able to find a editor that works for you!

      I personally use Photobucket for my blog images. I haven’t experimented with other options so I couldn’t say much about them but I find the Photobucket iPhone app incredibly useful. Using that along with the WordPress app helps me manage and create new blog posts without a computer if I don’t have any access. I also find the photo editing options on Photobucket useful for simple changes, its all there in one place.

      Thanks again so much for stopping by and for your comment, all the best for your blog!


  5. creepfordirtcheap
    September 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm (5 years ago)

    This is such a great reference post! Definitely took the hardwork out of the comparison, love it!

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      September 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you so much! I’m really glad this was useful to you! I really enjoyed putting it together ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Kareen
    November 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm (5 years ago)

    I need to learn to play around with my camera and my photoshop. This is inspiring, thanks for this=)

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      April 24, 2013 at 10:29 am (5 years ago)

      You’re welcome Kareen! I hope this inspired you to create some awesome photo editing ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Mammu
    April 24, 2013 at 10:20 am (5 years ago)

    I’ve had GIMP a few times, but since I never figured out how to use it properly I just uninstalled it…. You are inspiring me to choose an editor and actually learn how to create all the cool stuff! I’m the kind of person that tries something once and expects greatness from the first time hahhaa. For simple touchups I use Photo! Editor it’s really basic and has all the essentials.

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      April 24, 2013 at 10:28 am (5 years ago)

      I’m so glad you’re going to give it a second chance because it really can do so many great things.

      When I first tried it, I HATED it, haha. I had no idea how to work with layers or any of the features, it was too complicated. Then my husband wanted to edit something and learnt how to do it himself, I was determined at that point to try for myself. I thought, if he could do it I can.

      Now that I know the basics it is absolutely amazing! Here’s a tip, check out Part 3 of my ‘How to make a blog header’, I wrote a quick section to explain GIMP basics & layers.
      Here: http://beautifulkayekie.com/2013/01/26/how-to-create-a-blog-header-like-i-did-part-3/

      I’d also recommend trying out Picmonkey if GIMP is too technical, its my favourite ‘easy’ editor ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

      • Mammu
        April 24, 2013 at 11:04 am (5 years ago)

        I have all your “How to make a blog header” posts in my favorites so I can find them easily, for when I decide to start creating =) With layers I already got one foot in by using Paint.NET. In your posts there really are so many good tips especially for a beginner like me and I can’t wait to try them out!

      • Beautiful Kayekie
        April 24, 2013 at 11:43 am (5 years ago)

        That’s awesome, I’m excited for you! If you do happen to create anything drop me a line, I’d love to see ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. crazyspeedylove
    June 19, 2013 at 3:11 am (5 years ago)

    B.K your blog is great. I have just start a blog in the past few weeks and your photo posts have helped me more than you could imagine. I am following you – but more than that I have this post saved under my “Favorites” for easy access.

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      June 28, 2013 at 8:27 am (5 years ago)

      Hi CSL! Thank you dearly for the follow and for adding me to your favourites, congrats on starting your blogging journey!! I really enjoyed reading your posts, good luck for your blog success in the future! I’m always here for a chat ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. Brandie Sellers
    July 1, 2013 at 1:55 am (5 years ago)

    I love you so much for doing this! I looked at your latest post and wondered how you edited your pictures. I’m always looking for better ways to enhance my photos – for FREE, I might add. Thank you for your hard work and research ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beautiful Kayekie
      July 1, 2013 at 1:57 am (5 years ago)

      Lol I love you too! It makes me so happy to be able to help others achieve their best photos, it’s a pleasure to write. If you have any questions please let me know, I’m creating a series of posts on how to improve your photos and I’d love to know what you have always wanted to learn.

      • Brandie Sellers
        July 1, 2013 at 1:59 am (5 years ago)

        Shapes? There’s a specific post you did this on. I’ll comment there ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Beautiful Kayekie
        July 1, 2013 at 2:00 am (5 years ago)

        That would be fantastic! I will definitely make a note and write a post on exactly what you want to know! ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Brandie Sellers
        July 1, 2013 at 2:01 am (5 years ago)

        Thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚ And thanks for being a help to the rest of us bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so much fun when you can be that much more creative!

      • Beautiful Kayekie
        July 1, 2013 at 2:03 am (5 years ago)

        Oh I agree! And you are most welcome, it makes me so happy to see other bloggers being able to express themselves creatively. You guys are so talented and there’s so many amazing ideas waiting to be shared, it’s lovely to give some know-how <3

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