Welcome to part 2 of the best photo editor series. As a beauty blogger I find photo editors invaluable, so whether you are a beginner, experienced user, or even a fellow lifestyle, fashion, food or travel blogger, hopefully this review will help you find some great options. In this series I experimented a minimum of an hour with photo editors based on a list of things you might want to know at a glance.
Note: I chose to review these four in one post because, while they’re all Pixlr based, each is its own editor. There are similar functions, but there’s also differences, so to be thorough I reviewed them each individually.
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: Online, Download, Facebook, Chrome app.
User: Useful for beginner, intermediate, advanced (looking for fun preset edits).
Freebie or Subscription: Absolutely free.
15 minute rule: The simple ‘click to apply’ effects are incredibly straight forward, however the editor interface can be a little confusing at first. It lacks any clearly labeled buttons, which could slow you down initially. Once you are familiar with the icons/buttons, you could easily edit more than a few photos in that time.
Feature love: Bokeh overlays.
Filters: Up to 100 preset effects.
Worth Shouting About: 100 effects, 342 overlays, 210 borders in a customisable interface. You have the option to hide or display which effects, overlays and borders you want.
Linked sites: imm.io image sharing site.
App: Yes. Chrome browser app, iOS and Android.
My take: Pixlr is photo editing fun, an easy way to get effects, minimum fuss. It’s more novelty than serious editing. There are three sections – effects, overlays and borders – with the option to use all, or skip one or more of what you aren’t interested in.
It lacks in-depth customization which can be limiting. The effects cannot rotate/flip, which obviously won’t have the right look when effects block an important part of the photograph i.e. someones face.
The interface is great for touch devices because of the simple swipe-to-scroll functions, but not so great for computers. Clicking through options is time-consuming (which is why I suspect you can customise to hide/show effects to minimise this, and there is a button which randomly chooses effects for you).
Having said that, I love Pixlr-O-Matic. It reminds me of an extended version of Instagram without the same sharing features. I’ve used the iPad app for quite some time now, and always go back to it for fun. With a little imagination you can come up with some great photos.
Look Mummy, look what I did!: Photo of my son, Mr J.
To recreate this – Upload photo > Aladin effect > Redrum overlay > save
Online or Download: Online.
User: All users, beginner, intermediate, advanced.
Freebie or Subscription: Put your wallet away, its free!.
15 minute rule: Without basic photo editing knowledge, beginners would not be able to do much, other than preset filters and adjustments. For everyone else, it has all the tools you need to get the job done.
Feature love: Similar to GIMP features, but strictly online.
Filters: Filter menu is full of adjustable photo options.
Worth Shouting About: It has all the basics to mimic what you can do with GIMP or Photoshop.
Linked sites: You can save to imm.io, Pixlr Library, Facebook, Flickr and Picasa.
App: No, but Pixlr has other photo editor versions available in apps.
My take: Most decent photo editors nowadays have all the basics plus more, and this is no exception. So when it comes down to it, it’s more about preference. Which photo editor do you prefer to use? There is no right or wrong answer.
Layers, filters and a full tool bar (plus many other features) gives you enough to create endlessly. It’s difficult to compare the full features without being an advanced user, but I still believe it’s enough to replicate some GIMP and Photoshop capabilities. It’s clearly not Photoshop, but a good alternative considering its free.
Take the time to learn the basics and you will find this has more than enough to do what you need.
Look Mummy, look what I did!: I chose to keep it simple with a hue adjustment on my photo. This dramatic example would not work for all photos, but a change in hue on certain objects can work if applied in the right context.
To recreate this – Upload photo > adjustment > hue & saturation (adjust to suit) > save image.
Online or Download: Online
User: Beginner, intermediate. Advanced users will find this useful for basics, but these are found with almost any photo editor.
Freebie or Subscription: It costs ZERO hundred dollars. It’s free.
15 minute rule: Any user of any experience level would be able to figure this editor out and have a few photo’s saved within 15 minutes. The layout is very straight forward, with easy undo/redo options. Simply pick an option and apply.
Feature love: Effects and overlays for fun.
Filters: More than enough!.
Worth Shouting About: Fun effects, easy teeth whitening and airbrush, which used to be something unique only to Picnik or Picmonkey.
Linked sites: No.
App: No, but Pixlr has other photo editor versions available in apps.
My take: This is like Pixlr-O-Matic, and has all of the same novelty effects (it’s identical), plus a few extras and the option to add stickers and text. It makes sense to have their photo editors offer the same features, but if I had to choose I would prefer to use the online Pixlr Express over online Pixlr-O-Matic for interface functionality. Express is much easier to navigate (Have I lost you yet? lol).
If you’re a fan of Picmonkey touch-ups like airbrushing and teeth whitening you’ll be happy to know this offers the same tools. There are no super advanced features to be found, but that is what I like most about this editor, its effectiveness yet simplicity.
Look Mummy, look what I did!: My daughters miniature My Little Pony. This is a very simple two overlay edit.
To recreate this – upload photo > overlay > paper > dotted (apply) > overlay > bokeh > moody (apply) > save image.
Photobucket (editor provided by Pixlr)
[Note: All image editing is done through Pixlr/Pixlr Express within the Photobucket website (both reviewed above). Both versions of editors are the same as is found on Pixlr]
Online or Download: Online (must be within your Photobucket album).
User: All users.
Freebie or Subscription: Free baby!
15 minute rule: All users could make any edits quickly and easily.
Feature love: Edit hosted images without having to do so outside of Photobucket and re-upload images.
Filters: Basics and fun effects.
Worth Shouting About: The effects, easy teeth whitening and airbrush, which used to be something unique only to Picnik or Picmonkey.
Linked sites: Not directly, but Photobucket allows sharing.
App: Photobucket app – Yes. Photobucket Pixlr editor app – No.
My take: [You may notice the screen capture looks identical to Pixlr Express, and that's because it is. See notice directly above for explanation] Ready to fix up your Photobucket hosted images? You have two choices, Pixlr or Pixlr Express. Simply select your image and edit, then you can switch between the two via a tab at the bottom. Any changes you need made to your images can be done without having to do it on another website. High five!
It may seem pointless for Pixlr to have identical photo editors available on different websites (Photobucket and Pixlr) but each serve a good purpose in their environment. I often use it to make small last-minute changes to my photos to suit my blog, resizing, cropping etc, saving me a lot of precious time.
Want to download a copy of your changed image? There is a down side. Only pro (paid) accounts have the option to download edited images at full size. All other users will download smaller copies of their photos. Depending on what your needs are, this may or may not be an issue for you. Instructions on how to download images here.
Look Mummy, look what I did!: My son Mr A. and I.
Simple yet effective, I use the Photobucket editor to resize hosted images.
To recreate this – Select image in your album > edit > adjustment > resize (to suit) > save copy of image (to keep original).