FREE Photo Editing Tools!

With more students shooting digitally and having easier accessibility to the internet (both at school and at home), there are literally hundreds of online tools that students can use to edit their photos.

Back in March of this year I wrote about Picnik, which I heard about from my photography students. It has now become a photo-editing tool that many of my students use in advanced photography. Picnik is a cool site that has lots of possibilities but it is also limiting it what the student can do to their images (unless you have the funds to pay for the "premium access").

So in this post I thought I would also introduce several other sites that have popped up (or at least gained in notoriety) that budding photographers can use...for free...to edit their images, or at least have fun playing around with them!

Fun Photo Box is less of an image editor and more of a fun place to insert your images into pre-existing images...like movie posters, covers of magazines, on the side of a building, or a gigantic billboard. The results can be surprisingly funny and realistic!

(created at funphotobox.com)

TiltShiftMaker uses selective focus to give the illusion that your photo is actually a recreation of a miniature scale model of the original image. [From Wikipedia.com] "Miniature faking is a process in which a photograph of a life-size location or object is made to look like a photograph of a miniature scale model. Blurring parts of the photo simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered in close-up photography, making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is; the blurring can be done either optically when the photograph is taken, or by digital post-processing. Many faked-miniature photographs are taken from a high angle to simulate the effect of looking down on a miniature." To completely understand the effect you need to look at examples, and there are plenty on the site, but I have provided an example below from an image that I took at the Continental Divide in Colorado this past summer.

(created at tiltshiftmaker.com)

Mozaiq doesn't add special effects to your images, rather it rebuilds your image out of thousands of other images that are already loaded onto the site. Zoom in closer to see the images that make up the collage. This could be a fun way to share images or to create a unique desktop image for your computer!

(created at mozaiq.org)

Another unique way to display your images, without using any special editing tools, is to create a different kind of collage with Photovisi. Start with selecting one of fifteen layouts, upload your images, crop or rotate them, move them around, and then let Photovisi do the rest!

(created at www.photovisi.com)

Big Huge Labs is another online site where you can select from dozens of filters to make your photos into motivational posters, jigsaw puzzles, add a border to your images, or use the Hockneyizer to create an image collage made famous by American artist David Hockney (see below).

(created at bighugelabs.com)

Of course I have saved the best for last! For those of you (or parents) who own an iPhone, www.photoshop.com has just released (for FREE!!) Photoshop.com Mobile App for the iPhone. [from www.maclife.com] "The new app is free and gives you access to your Photoshop.com gallery and gives you the ability to edit photos on your iPhone and upload them to Photoshop.com (up to 2GB of storage). Adobe states the storage equals over 1,500 photos. That's a lot of cat pictures. The new app allows user to crop, rotate, flip and adjust the color of photos on your iPhone, including the ability to transform the image to black and white. Most of these controls are utilized via gestures. Slide your finger to the left or right to adjust the exposure for example."

Oh yeah!! I've already downloaded the app and started playing with the photos in my iPhone library!

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