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Free photo editing tools

Graphics and images are important components of all your online and marketing communications.

Research has shown that blog and Facebook posts that are accompanied by images get more views, and that consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.

Pictures do speak a thousand words though, and any pictures you post online should showcase your professionalism, creativity, and reflect the quality of your work. If your photography skills aren’t up to scratch, it’s now possible to correct and enhance images quickly and easily using online photo editing tools.

These programs are designed for the layperson: they’re intuitive and easy to use. While they may be relatively basic in functionality compared to programs like Photoshop, you can still achieve brilliant results with them. And because they work in your browser, there’s no need to install software onto your computer.

Canva

Create fun, professional-looking graphics – for business cards, invitations, flyers, Facebook and blog headers – using an intuitive drag-and-drop format. Templates are available if you’re not design-inclined, or you can build your own from a blank canvas. Canva’s photo editor allows you to create a consistent look and feel to your online images using either preset filters, or manual adjustments such as brightness, contrast, saturation, tint, blur, x-process and vignette. Canva is also available as an iPad app. You need to create an account with Canva to access the software. www.canva.com

PicMonkey

This photo editor works in your browser. Simply go to the website, upload your photo, and get to work. Couldn’t be simpler. Correct your photos, add filters, personalise them by pasting text or icons over the top, and create collages. It’s incredibly easy to use, heaps of fun, and ridiculously addictive. Not all features are available on the free version – paid subscribers can access more tools such as the facial ‘airbrushing’ tools. www.picmonkey.com

Picadilo

Similar to PicMonkey, Picadilo is an in-browser photo editing app. Picadilo has heaps of fun filters to play around with – from x-ray to pop art and everything in between, as well as colour and texture overlays. The air brushing and retouching features are included in this program, so if you’re wanting to make your staff look like supermodels, this is the program for you. Save your masterpieces to your computer or share them directly to Facebook. www.picadilo.com

Wordle

Not strictly a photo editing tool, but very cool nevertheless, Wordle will transform text into a graphic ‘word cloud’ image. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. Very useful for adding a bit of visual interest if you can't find an actual photograph to accompany your text. It’s free too. www.wordle.net