A picture’s worth a thousand words. That’s definitely true for social media & especially so when you’re talking Facebook Ads! A picture that engages, tells a story, and draws people to action quickly is essential in our digital environment. It’s still amazing how few tweets contain images when an image is a powerful way to engage. Anyways, enough on the why you should use images and more on the how to get them done.
I’m not alone in this. I am a small business & I do my own graphic design. I admit that sometimes they leave a lot to be desired, but in the main they hit the mark. I’d hope they hit the mark, because I have clients who come to me to create their images and others who rely on me to create images as their social media manager. So, I thought I would share with you the tools I use to edit & create images. All of the image software tools I use are free, or were part of a suite of other tools. Before we begin there are a few things you should know… I am not a graphic designer, Photoshop overwhelms me, and I am an iPod owning Android/PC user. So here are my go to image software tools.
On my laptop I have a few go to image editors.
An oldie but a goodie. This old friend was my first introduction to image software. I still use it periodically for quick cropping.
This is my go-to web based image editor. I use iPiccy to crop, adjust, add overlays, resize, and do just about all of my image editing. I like how I can output the image in multiple file formats. I can edit, save a version & then keep editing. While the more intricate addition of layers and image manipulation can take some time to learn; the point, click, slide interface makes for a simple user experience.
Edit photos for free
I use this website to remove the background from images. Tried & frustrated by the MS Word method, I searched for ways to remove the background from images. With a simple upload/download interface and a mark red to delete, yellow to border, & green to keep method it is quick & effective. There is a zoom function so that you can get into the tighter, more intricate shapes & spaces of your image editing.
Android & iOS
All time fave for editing on a mobile device. While it’s a quick and dirty way of editing photos, it’s effective when editing clear photos that need simple manipulation of light, shadows, cropping etc. I like that I can output the image to multiple sources/platforms directly from the app or to my gallery (my preferred option).
If Guy Kawasaki stands behind it, it is likely to be a good piece of image software. Not to mention that I am parochial and they are an Aussie tech. All of that aside, Canva makes image creation easy. With preset sizes, designs, images, and the ability to build your own – there’s a lot to love.
Some may find the choices daunting. My advice is to start small, start free, and work up from there. Speaking of free beware the pay for images and design elements. Just because you bought it once doesn’t mean you own it forever. In fact, I hear tell that if you use Canva for Business and you purchase an image for one size, &then change the size, you will be paying again. So, if you design a Facebook Cover Picture with four paid elements & pay the $4, then when you resize it to a Facebook Ad or Twitter Header image you pay another $4. The way to get around it… use your own. It’s what I do. When you become more proficient you will work out how to replicate layouts with their free elements, which is what make it a strong piece of image software.
Android & iOS
Studio Design by Overlay Studio
Available on iOS and Android, Design Studio is my favourite image software for Instagram or image creation on the go. The software is entirely square format, but you can resize and overlay a multitude of different things. You can add frames, text, and different embellishments. I find it’s handy for a quick motivational quote creation – start with a blank canvas and add one of the predesigned text overlays and you’re done! Don’t fret about the overlays being predesigned, you can resize, relocate, rotate, and recolour. Best of all the number of choices available means that you’re not likely to look like everyone else on Insta!
Adobe Creative Cloud Express
Updated in August 2022
Wow, Adobe, hats off, you’ve really upped your game. I love this app and the beauty is that I can use it on my Android. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
The software is free but like Canva you can upgrade to Pro for access to specific templates, images etc.
Adobe contacted me about the upgrade and asked me to update this article. I’m so glad they did. Like the original article, Adobe doesn’t disappoint. Single log in allows for quick changes on the go and main work on a desktop.
The app is full of cool templates and is a great way to offer a fresh look to your socials rather than just sticking with the templates from one software company. The app was easy to use and offered a great range of integrations. I created an animated Instagram story, tweaked the font and added an overlay to put my spin on it. You have to go pro to add your own branding, but I think it would be worth it if you intend on being a regular user.
With the update to Adobe Express I have to say that my top three pieces of image software are VSCO, Adobe Express, & Canva; congratulations to Adobe for lifting their game and making the app more accessible.