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5 Awesome (and Free!) Image Creation Tools for Bloggers

This guest post is by Brittany Berger, content coordinator for eZanga. She can be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

You know how it goes. You craft the perfect title, write an enticing introduction, go on to develop an informative and thought-provoking body, and end with a killer call-to-action that’s sure to convert. There’s only one thing preventing this from becoming the most perfect blog post you’ve ever seen: a beautiful image.

Anyone in the blogging or social media space can see that visuals are becoming an increasingly important part of content creation. That’s why photos receive 53% more ‘likes’ than other posts on Facebook, and why Pinterest and Instagram are so popular.

But let’s face it: we’re bloggers, not graphic designers.

Not every blog or company has a design team ready to make an image for every post, or even a budget for tools like Photoshop. More often than not, we’re left to our own devices. So it’s up to us to make sure those devices are as helpful as possible.

If you haven’t played around with these 5 tools yet, jump in and make your next blog post a little more beautiful.

1. PicMonkey
PicMonkey is a freemium online service that gives you “photo editing made of win,” (their words, not mine). It’s incredibly easy to use and has both free and paid plans, but the free certainly has enough features to create great visuals. As a bonus, you can also connect accounts to share your photos directly to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, and email.

From basic editing options like cropping and resizing to more fun edits like adding effects, text, overlays, and textures, PicMonkey is what I use for the majority of my own blog post photos. They also add seasonal packages like “Sweetheart,” “Winterland,” “School U,” and “Trick or Treat” with extra effects.

2. Fotor
Fotor is a lot like PicMonkey, both in appearance and features. But it has some features that PicMonkey lacks—Fotor’s clip art gallery is both much larger and has more variety than PicMonkey’s overlay gallery. The same goes for its selection of fonts. But I find that I prefer PicMonkey’s effects over Fotor’s, so it’s just a matter of the kind of image you want to create.

3. Google+
No, I’m not confused; Google+ is more than a social network. Google acquired the online photo editor Picnik in 2010, and in 2012 it officially shut it down and worked its features into Google+. If you upload photos to Google+ using the Google Chrome browser, in addition to the auto-enhance features, you can do basic image adjustments or more obvious edits like center focus, tilt shift, and retrolux. You can choose to keep the photo private so it’s only seen in the post, or publicly post it as a teaser for your blog post.

4. PicStitch
Sometimes you have not one suitable image, but several, and you’re just looking for a quick way to combine them. You might recognize this app’s name from seeing #picstitch all over Instagram, since one export option is to send the “stitch” straight to Instagram. But this mobile app – available on iOS and Windows Mobile platform – can also be used on its own and creates collages that look just as great on desktop as they do on mobile. In fact, I used PicStitch to create the image in this post!

PicStitch has 84 different free layouts to use to create a collage, and a ton of free editing options. There’s even a meme feature to add text to the photo in that font that screams “next internet sensation.” There are so many free features that I haven’t even tried to explore the paid packages yet.

5. Filters
If you already have a great picture and you just want to adjust it a little bit, filters are your best bet. Made popular by Instagram, at this point you probably already have several other apps with filters on your phone: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ all have them, not to mention the Instagram clones out there.

To use filters on a picture for a blog post, you can post it to the network of your choice after adding the filter, then save it from the post.  In addition to social apps that filter, the camera on most iPhones allows you to filter after taking a photo, or you can download a free app like Aviary or FX Photo Studio to take and/or upload photos to filter and edit.

Next time you’re tempted to slap a stock photo into a blog post as-is, take a step back. It’s no longer difficult to spice up a stock photo, or even create one of your own. You just need to know where to go to do it. And now, hopefully, you do.

What is your personal photo tool of choice? Make your own recommendations in the comments.

For more insight, download Cision’s complimentary guide 10 Tips for Telling your Brand’s Story.

About Guest Contributor

Cision invites PR and marketing professionals to share their best practices and advice with the Cision Blog audience. To share your story, contact blog.us@cision.com

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