If you have a blog you'll likely need some free and easy image editing tools.
Tools like Canva let you quickly and easily add text to your photos so you can create images for social media. Be Funky is a great tool when you just want to quickly crop an image so it's formatted correctly.
You'll also need an image compression tool, such as Optimizilla so that you can make the file sizes smaller. That way they don't slow down the load time of your site.
Ask any blogger what their favorite image editing tool is and they will probably say Canva. If you've been frustrated with photo editors in the past, you'll love Canva.
Canva makes it super easy to create graphics for your blog and social media. You can create graphics of any size — including preset sizes for all the social media platforms.
They also have a large selection of free images to choose from, or you can upload images you've gotten from somewhere else.
And not just images but videos too. Want to make video pins for Pinterest? You can do that in Canva. You can also make eye-catching Instagram images with video or other moving elements.
They have a ton of fonts to choose from so you can create exactly the look you want. But if you are design challenged, they offer a selection of pre-made templates.
On top of all the font choices, they also offer other design features such as shapes, frames, lines, stickers, etc. You could spend hours looking at all the options.
Then once you are finished creating your perfect design, download it to your computer or even schedule it to social right from Canva.
Canva Pro Add-ons
My two favorite features of Canva Pro is a larger selection of free images and the ability to resize your designs for different platforms.
For example, if you have created an image for Facebook and want to use the same design for Pinterest you can resize it with the click of a button. You will still have to fiddle with the size and placement of the text, but you won't have to start all over from scratch.
You can also set your brand colors and fonts. This makes them easy to select when creating your images — which is super handy. The paid version also allows you to upload your own fonts if Canva doesn't have the one you need.
Canva is free to use but if you'd like the extra features of the paid version it's $9.95 per month, billed annually.
This image editing tool isn't one you'll see on most lists but I use it all the time. Canva is great for creating social media images, but when I just want to quickly crop an image, Be Funky is the way to go.
I like that it's super simple to use and you don't need to know the exact dimensions of the image you want before you start. You can just crop it based on your “eye” — to whatever looks best.
Let's say I have an image that I downloaded from a photo site that's 4,000 by 2,700 and for my site, I need to to be 1,000 by 563. First I click on “Resize” and make the width 1,000 keeping the “Lock Aspect Ratio” option turned on. This will keep the image the same ratio, but just make it only 1,000 pixels wide.
Then I take my resized image and crop it to make it only 563 pixels tall. Here's a video that walks you through this process.
Images straight from the internet are super big! And the bigger the image the longer it takes to load — and long load times are terrible for SEO.
So before you upload any image to your site you'll want to compress it. Compressing it doesn't lower the quality of the photo enough to make any difference in the look of the image, but it does make the file smaller and therefore quicker to load.
My favorite image compressor is called Optimizilla. It's a very straightforward service. You simply upload your big image into the service and it will immediately start compressing it. It takes a few seconds and then click “download” and a small version of the image will download to your computer.
Here's why I like this service above the others. They all do the same basic thing but Optimizilla puts “-min” after the name of the image, which stands for “minimized”. That seems like such a small thing but when you have two images that have the exact same name, it's hard to tell which is the optimized one and which isn't!
The little “-min” at the end makes it so easy.
Where to Get Free Images
To do all this photo editing you'll need some images. If you have the paid version of Canva then you'll likely have enough images to last you a good long while. But if not, there are still ways you can get images for free.
You can't just download any image from Google. If you don't have the right to use the image then you could get into a lot of trouble. Therefore, it's important to get images from places you trust and that you know you are allowed to use.
It's truly amazing how high quality the images are from free sites. You are not giving up quality here. If you want nature scenes you will have a huge selection. If you need something else — for example I use pictures of laptops a lot — you may run out of options fairly quickly.
Typically, reputable free sites will allow you to use the images for commercial purposes without attribution. That means you can put the images on your site and you don't have to link to the image site or the photographer.
You can also alter images if you want. But you can't sell the images which includes selling stuff you put the images on. For example, you can't make a T-shirt with a free image and sell it. So be careful if you are using a free image in a paid product, such as a printable.
A few good free image sites are:
You need several tools to create great images for your blog. You'll need a site where you can find images that fit your topics, then you'll need a way to edit those images.
For social media you'll need a tool like Canva to put text and elements on the image. Images that go on the site directly will need to be formatted for a consistent look — Be Funky is good for that.
Lastly, you'll want to compress the images so they don't bog down you site. Optimizilla is a quick and easy tool for compression.