Before_after_photo_editingThe news of Google’s latest service shutdowns means picture editing is no longer a Picnik for many bloggers, Flickr users and others.

Google is shutting down Picnik and wrapping the technology into services like Google+. And while many die hard Picnik users are understandably miffed, the odds are good that several alternatives have come about to handily replace their de facto image editor.

Whether or not you use Picnik, here are five tips for free and easy photo edits.

1) Your Computer: Most laptops come preloaded with image editing software. It may only cover the basics, but it’ll do in a pinch and they work whether or not you’re online.

2) PowerPoint: This may be seen as Macgyver by some and MacGruber by others, but you can pull images into a powerpoint slide, edit them and save them out again as jpgs. This is also great if you don’t have photoshop and want to combine images. Again, you’re limited in what you can do, but you can do more than you think.

3) Pixlr:
 If you prefer Photoshop, but don’t have access to it, check out Pixlr. It’s a great, free online image editing tool that closely resembles the graphic design software.

4) BeFunky: I’ve used BeFunky in the past for some photo fun, but they’ve enhanced and expanded their offering with plenty of free options to edit and filter images, add special effects and more. Thanks to Matthew Dooley for the heads up on BeFunky’s full array of options.

5) Picassa:
 I use it on my desktop. It also connects to Picnik, but it lets you do quite a bit of editing without it. It’s also a great photo management tool.

Bonus Tip:
 If you’re in love with a photo app on your smartphone? Use Dropbox or something similar to transfer images back and forth and simply edit on your phone. It’s not as straightforward as the above options. But if there’s a filter you’re in love with on your phone, it’s an option for the right shots.
Picnik is a great site. Hopefully Google makes a quick and obvious integration of Picnik into all of its photo tools. In the meantime, the site’s given refunds to all its users and is free to all until it shuts down in mid-April. This gives die hard fans plenty of time to find an alternative that might even improve upon their former photo editing habits.

Social Media Consolidation Leaving Users in Lurch

Picnik is just one of several sites changing their policies or shutting down completely. Co.Tweet’s moving to paid only as part of Exact Target’s product offering. Twitter bought Summify and it’s shutting down soon.

Social Media is maturing and, as sites buy other sites or evolve, it’s impacting users. Hopefully it means more from mainstream sites like Twitter and Google+ in the above examples. Just remember it’s business. And it’s something  we’ll surely be seeing more of in the future.

And a thanks to ShannanB for inspiring this post. 


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