Online Photo Editing Tools (For the Design Pro to the Design Illiterate) Jessica Lunk As much as copywriters would like to believe otherwise, images are the key to engaging browsers. Social posts are significantly more effective when a photo or video is included, and blogs, articles, and copy all rely heavily on images to capture attention in time – you typically have only a few seconds to grab it before they leave your page without reading anything more than the heading. But what if you have no digital photo editing skills!? Fortunately, there are helpful tools that can make photo editing easier. You don’t have to be a pro to create great-looking photos for your company. Just get to know some of the tools that you can find online or download to your computer. PicMonkey PicMonkey has a free version that anyone can use to create photo collages or enhance existing photos by adding text and graphic elements. Beginners can learn the PicMonkey program pretty quickly. For advanced elements, you can used the paid version. You can use PicMonkey’s templates or upload your own for editing. The site is used to create images for Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. The biggest drawback is that it can be slow at times. Canva Canva is similar to PicMonkey, although it is easier to navigate. It doesn’t have as many free graphic elements, but it starts you off with the perfect size image for each type of social media. Also easy to learn, Canva has more free options when it comes to grids and layouts, but does charge for most of its images. The fee is only $1 per element, so it’s worth the money if you want to use one. It is easier to navigate Canva and it doesn’t get bogged down as much as PicMonkey. Pixlr Pixlr is a mobile app photo editor that is completely free. You can use its various tools to edit your photos right on your phone or tablet. It has many elements similar to Photoshop, but is more complicated than either Canva or PicMonkey. It is a good choice for intermediate users that want to edit on their mobile devices. It is available for iOS and Android. Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 A smaller version of Photoshop, Elements is not as costly and offers quite a range of tools for a more serious photo editor. There is no free version of this program, but you can get a free trial. Beginners can learn by using the guided tutorials for the program. You do have to buy this program outright for your Mac or PC. Google Picasa 3 This is a free program for both PC and Mac that is a good choice for photo editing quickly and efficiently. Not for serious editors, this program is good for people who want to edit photos without much fuss. It is a good program to use for Google +. GIMP Available for Linux, Windows and Mac, GIMP is free to use on your computer and is compatible with all photo files. It is an open-source photo editor with a full array of tools. It also has a file manager, and offers advanced tools for serious photo editors. Creating images for your marketing can be a lot of fun. I would recommend playing around with a formula that you use to create consistency and to make it easier to produce images on the fly. Think about the emotion you want to convey. Is there tension? My secret weapon for finding great images that are free to use is The Stocks. It’s an aggregate of different photo sites so it’s easy to sift through and find the right image for a blog post, a motivational image, an email header, etc. When you are planning your marketing strategies for small business success, you don’t need big, complex software to reach your goals.