We take lots of photos while we travel, and we know that we’re not the only ones! After taking tons of photos, sometimes we need to do a little post-processing or color-correcting to our pictures. However, this can be challenging while traveling because we are often away from our computers, not to mention that the best photo editing software can be quite expensive. But fear not, in the last few years a lot of online photo organization and manipulation tools have become available, and most of them are free. So if you’re traveling, or about to start a trip, check out these great websites to modify your travel pics.
Photoshop.com (from Adobe, the creators of Photoshop) allows you to upload and organize your photos as well as perform various edits such as color adjustments, red eye reduction, cropping, black and white, saturation, and various artistic filters. Registration is required but free, and the photo organization tool is quite handy as it allows you to categorize and tag your photos. You can even submit them to your facebook, flickr, picassa, and photobucket accounts once you’ve uploaded them. On the down side, there seem to be a lot of ads for Adobe’s products, and the photo manipulation tools, while easy to use, are not nearly as powerful as some other free sites (such as Picnik). Honestly, we expected more photo manipulation abilities from the creators of Photoshop, although the organization tools are some of the best on the web.
Picnik has free online editing tools that go beyond the abilities of photoshop.com. Naturally, you can perform basic adjustments such as cropping and saturation, but you can also click the advanced editing buttons to see more options. You’ll be able to see a histogram when you edit the contrast, for example. Don’t worry though, the user interface is incredibly easy and simple. All of your edits are instantly reflected in the photo that you’re working on so that you can quickly see what effect the tools are having. Registration is not required, but needed if you want to keep an online gallery of your pictures. A premium service is available with more editing options for a price. You can also import and export your photos to and from popular photo sites such as flickr and picassa. (If you use flickr, you’ll probably notice the “edit with picnik” buttons next to your photos on flickr.com.)
Pixlr is very impressive. It blew me away. This is what photoshop.com should have been, because the online image editor is almost exactly like Photoshop, but in your browser. You can create a blank canvas and start painting, or upload a photo (very fast uploading) to edit. Then you are able to manipulate the curves, levels, contrast, and other attributes like you would in Photoshop. You can even create layers! If all of that is too complex for you, there’s an “Express” version which has the simple editing tools found on other photo editing sites. Not to be outdone by the full editor, the Express editor’s tools are very extensive. The only downside to Pixlr is that there are no organization or gallery tools to speak of. You will be able to register and save your photos to your “library” for future editing, but you can’t really view or share your library like most other sites. However, you can import and export your photos to flickr and facebook. This site is designed to be an image editor, which it does very well, and let other photo gallery websites do what they do best.
A number of other free photo editing sites are available online, but in our opinion, these are the best of the bunch. They combine the best features with the best price (free). Unfortunately, none of these free tools are as powerful as paid software that you would install on your own computer. If you take your photography seriously, and have the money to spend, I highly recommend Photoshop Lightroom by Adobe. Otherwise we’ll all just have to wait for these free online tools to get better over the next few years.