Online Photo Editing Programs

As technology increases and the internet continues to expand, it is increasingly common to use a simple photo effect for free digital artwork creation. Manipulating photos, creating website banners and developing new icons are just a few of the thousands of things people can create to add to their web pages or to use as internet ads. A photo manipulation program can digitally edit a user’s existing media, but can also be costly. People can try free online image editors before purchasing expensive image editing programs.

How To Use an Online Editor

Step 1: Save your media or photos you want to edit in a place you will be able to access them easily, either on your desktop or in a new folder created just for this purpose. The online photo editor allows you to open multiple images at the same time.

Step 2: Find the free image program you wish to use. There are several programs available. Within these editors you will see many of the same functions as standard photo editing programs, such as removing red eye, cropping and resizing. As well as special effects, like retro and vintage. You do not need to download the software; all editing can be done within your browser.

Step 3: Select the first image to edit from your folder. If you want to open several images the program will tell you which keys to hit for multiple selections. You can have as many images open as you like and easily switch from one to the other rather than just working on one before starting on another.

Step 4: The toolbar gives you different tools to use. Additional menus offer more choices to help you create the effects you want to add to your images. By creating a new layer, you are able to experiment with various effects. If you do not like the effects on the new layer, you can delete it without changing the original image. You can continue to experiment with new layers as many times as you wish.

Step 5: Once you are happy with the changes you click the done button and save your images with a new name. You can choose the file extension you would like to use to save your image.

Most websites with the free software include a video tutorial with a live demonstration to show you how the product works and how to create a simple, free, fun effect for your photo.

Layers in Photo Editing Programs or in PowerPoint

The concept of layers is basically the same among photo editing programs and even PowerPoint. Most people are more familiar with PowerPoint than a specific photo editing tool, like Photoshop, so this example is done with PowerPoint.

Play with paper

Get several different kinds of paper in front of you. Make one sheet yellow, one transparent and colorless, another white, and the last sheet black.

Draw a big, red X on your yellow paper, right in the center of the paper. Draw a green star on your white paper and a house on your black paper. Draw a cloud on your transparent paper.

Now, stack the papers. Put the transparent paper on the bottom, then the yellow, white, and the black. If the black paper is on the top of the stack, all you can see if black paper with a picture of a house on it.

Re-order your stack. This time, put the black one on the bottom, then the white, then the yellow, and then the transparent paper. Now you can see the cloud you drew on your transparent paper in addition to the big red X and the yellow paper.

From this, you should garner a few pieces of information about layers. Each layer has some properties.


Is the layer transparent or opaque? Can you see through it? When you’re using PowerPoint, every shape, text, graph, or smart art is its own layer. Select the shape. Right click on the shape and then select “Format Shape” from the menu that comes up. Go to the “Fill” section. Click on “Solid Fill.” Then, underneath the fill color, is a slider bar with transparency. If the slider is set to 100%, then the layer is completely transparent. If the layer is set to 0, then it is completely opaque.

This is a little different from the paper example, however. In the paper example, the cloud you drew was not transparent. In PowerPoint, the entire shape is its own layer and has the same transparency level.

Order of the layers

Just like you controlled the order of the papers in your stack, you can control the order of your shapes (your layers) in PowerPoint. Right click on any object and a menu will pop up. The menu has “Bring to Front” and “Send to Back” options. If you hover on the “Send to Back” option, another option appears to “Send Backward.” “Send to Back” puts the layer on the bottom of the stack of images. “Send Backward” just sends the layer one back.

How can I make part of the shape transparent?

If you want part of the shape transparent and part opaque, you can use the “remove the background” feature to make parts of the picture transparent. This only works with photos, so if you want to do this with a normal shape, you need to save the shape out as an image and then reload it into your document.

For example, say you have a photo that has a cloud in the sky, and you want the center of the cloud to be transparent with a dog showing through.

Size the dog so it will fit in the cloud.

Click on the picture that has the cloud in it. Go to the “Format” tab. On the left hand side, click on Remove Background. PowerPoint 2007 doesn’t give you a whole lot of control here, but 2010 is much better. Use the plus sign to mark areas to keep. Use the plus sign to mark everything that is not a cloud. Use the minus sign to mark the cloud to remove. Leave some of the edges of the cloud there. If you don’t like the results, click on “Remove Background” again and modify your work.

Choosing a Photo Editing Program That’s Right For You

Anyone in the world is able to take a photograph, but whether or not it looks good is debatable. Unfortunately not all cameras are built alike in quality and price and photo editing won’t ever fix every issue, but with the help of certain software, people have a second chance to make their photos look great.

Get to know your camera. Do not rely on these photo programs alone. The more you know about your camera the closer you can get to capture the photo that you want and make the editing or post process easier. Most cameras have the option to automatically and manually change settings but branch off to something other than auto modes and scene modes. Experiment with your camera by taking photos in the auto modes and try to recreate them in a manual setting.

Once you’ve discovered and learned a little more about your camera, explore your options with editing software. There are hundreds of photo programs to consider, and if you ask around, you’ll hear people saying many of the same things: Photoshop, Aperture, iPhoto etc. How do you know which one is best for you? To start, decide if you are a consumer, pro-consumer, or professional and ask yourself where you would like to go with your photography and your editing.

People tend to follow trend, but you need to focus on what you are planning on doing with your photos. When you’re planning on editing for the first time, look for programs that will give you at least the basics. Simple editing tools would be to crop, resize, flip, remove red-eye, auto-enhance and change images to black and white. Some digital cameras come with their own editing software, but you may be limited to one auto-correcting feature, or one cropping feature. Compare different effects that the different programs offer such as special effects, brushes, filters and graphics. There are some artistic tools that allow you to paint, draw, and erase digitally.

What’s your budget? Photo programs are great, but some can cost you $1,000 bucks! For those who are not interested in going “Pro”, look into Adobe Photoshop Elements. Photoshop Elements is designed for simple use, while still giving you the ability to manage, edit and share your photos all while costing $99.

When the research on each of these programs is complete, it may still be hard to decide which program you want to use, but “try-before-you-buy”. A good majority of these programs will have trial versions that you can download and explore. There’s no better way to find out which photo program is right for you than to use them first hand. The trial versions can last a few days to a month or two. Take a bunch of photos and try the programs out. Pick a photo that you would like to work on and give it a shot. Of course the program will be completely new to you, but there is a help menu and there are video tutorials everywhere. The controls have images on them to give you an idea of what they are, but to figure out how to use them, there are websites like and there are podcasts on iTunes. These are here to help you find different beginner to advanced effects and techniques. The ease of use of a program is important because if you keep getting frustrated with a program, you’ll start to care less about its features.

Managing your photos is just as important as it is to have the right photo-editing program. Your photo collections will grow, and if you ever want to get back to a previously edited photo you may find that it’s a needle in a haystack. Thousands of photos in one album is messy, hard to find, and can discourage you from wanting to locate one. Along with staying organized, once trial periods of programs are over, get rid of them. They take up space on your computer and unless you purchase them, they wont be usable.

Again, do your best to get the shot you want right in the camera. Even though there are programs as high end as Adobe Photoshop CS4, photos that are blurry and out-of-focus can’t be fixed. The learning never stops, and you’ll find more than one program will work for you. There’s never a problem with using a combination of two programs, just be sure to familiarize yourself with what you’re doing in order to help you understand how to take better photos, and edit when you wish.