Clear, beautiful photos are something that's impossible to divorce from the modern web. They're the backbone of entire social media platforms like Instagram and form the basis of our digital culture of sharing.
In spite of this, just pointing and shooting a photo will only take you so far. While smartphone cameras are better than ever, small factors like framing, lighting, and color can play a big role between a clear, perfect portrait and a muddy mess. To make matters worse, professional photo editing tools like Photoshop can cost an arm and a leg every month to run and install. So what's an amateur photographer to do?
Fortunately, there's a platform on the web that puts the power of apps like Photoshop into an easy online tool that anyone can use. And best of all, it's completely free to enjoy. If you're ready to take your photos to the next level, you won't want to miss this simple, powerful application.
Pixlr X makes photo editing fun
Pixlr X is a browser-based photo editing tool that puts the power of high-end digital art software into a free package that everyone can try and enjoy. The app itself doesn't need to be downloaded and runs directly in your browser just by visiting a website.
This free app is ad-supported, so don't be surprised to see a few banner ads on the side, but this doesn't take away from the user experience in the slightest.
When you first open the program, you'll notice just how in-depth many of the tools and options are. You can upload an image, resize it, crop it, make adjustments, and even work with layers -- just like Adobe Photoshop. Many paid photo editing tools on iOS don't even bother with layers, so for a free program, that's a major plus.
Crop and resize images in your browser window
Like most photo editing tools, Pixlr X offers a range of cropping and resizing functions. These can be accessed on the left-hand menu, and allow you to trim your image down to the perfect scale.
You can even select from several presets that correspond to different social media platforms -- like Instagram, for example. That way, you can be sure whichever image you're working with is the perfect fit for your audience.
Use layers to add magic to your photos
The ability to work with layers is what separates Pixlr X from the rest of its peers and puts it against the big boys in terms of functionality. In our own testing of the feature, we found it extremely intuitive and easy to use.
Simply click the + button in the upper right-hand corner to create a new layer. In the menu that pops up, you'll have the option to either upload another image (like we did with our "The Kim Komando Show" logo), put text over your image (great for meme-makers), or even doodle on top of your picture. With layers, the sky is the limit.
Adjust color and lighting, add filters, and more
Now that you've chopped, twisted, and touched up your photo, the last step you'll need to make it a masterpiece is lighting and color adjustment. Luckily, Pixlr X already includes these tools from the get-go.
Like the other tool menus, simply click from the left-hand bar. You can adjust color in broad strokes like hue, or even tweak it on a more intimate level with saturation and color temperature changes. Add in the lighting menu with its contrast and shadow adjustment, and you can easily make even the most boring of photos absolutely pop with color.
If you like what you see, it's easy to give Pixlr X a spin and start creating your very own photographic works of art. Pixlr X is free to use and can be accessed at https://pixlr.com/x/. Happy editing!
Closest online free version of Photoshop
It's so easy to get lost in the world of photography when you have the right tools to make your images pop. That's why it's important to have a powerful image-editing tool. But for many, the expense of using one is a problem. The more complex editing tools can be expensive. Photoshop is the de facto standard, but it can cost nearly $20 per month.