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5 Affordable Image Creation Tools that I use In My Blogging

Earlier in the year I published a post where I shared links to 13 tools and services that I use every day in my blogging business.

Today I wanted to add a four – particularly ones that relate to creating images for my blogs.

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PicMonkey

I use PicMonkey every day to help me create images for sharing on social media.

If you head to the Photos on the dPS Facebook page you’ll notice that most days we share at least one or two ‘collages’ of images from posts on the blog. Almost all of these were created with PicMonkey.

It’s a free web based tool (although there is an upgrade option that I’ve not used myself) and is really easy to use.

It also has some image editing tools that you might find useful for editing single images.

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Canva

I’m newer to Canva… because it is a newer tool but I’m using it more and more. It’s currently in beta but if you use this link you can get a VIP account (that’s just for ProBlogger readers).

Canva is similar to PicMonkey in some ways in that you can pull in images and text to create great visuals – but it comes with a lot of cool templates for different types of documents to get you going. It’s free to use but if you choose to use some of their images in your designs you will pay $1 per image for their use (I have only ever paid once and use my own images the bulk of the time).

It is all drag and drop and while it probably has a slightly steeper learning curve than Pic Monkey I think it’s definitely one to check out.

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Skitch (by Evernote)

I used to use Skitch a lot but for one reason or another stopped – until recently. A couple of my team members use Skitch a lot, particularly when we’ve been doing the redesign of dPS to communicate with each other. It’s great for creating screen captures and then adding notes with arrows or highlighting particular areas that we want our developers to work with.

I don’t tend to use the images Skitch creates too much publicly but it’s a handy tool for our internal communications.

It’s got a cool smartphone app too for doing these things on the run too!

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MindNode

This is a tool for creating mind maps. I use both an iPad and desktop app and it is how I created the ProBlogger Money Map that outlines how bloggers make money.

I use mind maps more for internal planning and communication than for creating images to share publicly. Having said that – I also have seen a number of people use mind maps like this for diagrams in blog posts as well as for powerpoint presentations.

MindNode is easy to use and creates lovely looking mindmaps.

Imagewell

ImageWell

I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past but continue to use it.

It’s a light weight mac image editing tool that I use mainly for resizing images and a little editing.

You can add borders, text etc. I will say I’ve used it less since discovering the two tools above but for quick edits when I am not actually online it is handy.

What Would You Add?

What other image creation and editing tools do you use in your blogging? I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface here – looking forward to seeing your suggestions!

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. hcgchica says:

    I want to try some of this tools, I’m having issue with my images being so huge as I post things on my blog. Thank you for this.

  2. Hamza Sheikh says:

    Personally, I never heard about any of these tools but for my free photo editing I use pixlr system. They are providing awesome features to their users, you might wanna take a look at their website.

  3. Beatrice says:

    I use Ribbet to edit my photos and I like it very much. It’s easy and free. Thank you for your suggestions..

  4. Chivon says:

    Canva is definitely becoming one of my favourite image tools. It’s worth getting an beta account and playing with the templates. There are still a few bugs but so far I think it’s a great way to create graphics for your blog and social media profiles.

  5. Victoria says:

    You’d be surprised how good PowerPoint is for this too! Just using shapes, text boxes and the grouping function.

  6. sef says:

    This is a good list for everyone. Just wanted to add this one for free.. http://pixlr.com/editor/ i’m not good when it comes to creating images but that tool can help people out there.

  7. Pixelmator (mac app) is a design tool I find myself in more often than not. Also as one of the team members mentioned above that uses skitc,h it really becomes cool when you upgrade to premium with it’s syncing / sharing functionality. I fought it for a long time, but as soon as I paid the $40 my life was instantly better.

  8. Mel Dever says:

    What about Photoshop CS2? It’s completely free nowadays and can do everything you’d ever need… plus some! :)

    Cheers,
    Mel

    This is where you can get it from: http://www.techspot.com/downloads/3689-adobe-photoshop-cs2.html

  9. Vadim says:

    This is good pack of tools :) Thanks :)

    What is your favor plugin for WordPress?
    I’m inspired by AtContent! Say something about it?

  10. Microsoft Excel.

    Mind sound surprising but the image tools in Excel are great for lots of things. Really easy to use, lots of pre-set colour schemes and styles. Just create. copy/paste, and you have a great looking image.

    http://www.myonlinetraininghub.com/microsoft-excel-shapes-smartart

    Phil

  11. Sheree says:

    Started using Canva a couple of weeks ago and loving it.

    Previously, a Photoshop user and it’s overkill for most of what I need to do.

  12. I use ipiccy.com quite a bit.

  13. Pixlr is a great, free web-based image editing tool I use a lot. It’s basically like a lightweight version of Photoshop. Instagram is another free image tool I’ve been using a lot lately, it’s mobile-only but it’s a great way to come up with great images that are perfectly formatted for sharing on Facebook.

  14. My fav these days is Quotescover. Let’s me create great images for my blog in a few minutes. I once wrote a post with my fav free online tools. Hope it’s OK to post here: http://blogformatting.com/free-resources-editing-images/
    Thanks for your tips Darren there are a few I haven’t tried yet ;)

  15. Alex says:

    I love the tool MindNode, but its only for mac. could you please tell me its alternative for windows 7? Thanks.

    • Serge says:

      @Alex you can use FreeMind on any OS and the price is right = free!

    • Dave Curlee says:

      I’m a HUGE MindMeister user. I love it. It’s a great tool, the free account is useful, but the paid account really opens stuff up. It also integrates with google drive so you create and store the maps in your drive account. Hope this helps!

      http://bit.ly/52meister

  16. Great list – will investigate a couple I haven’t used, Darren. I mostly use a combination of Snagit (great for “snagging” screen shots and images from web and creating free-form montages) and then I’ll edit and add text in PicMonkey. Have just signed up for Canva so look forward to playing more with that.

  17. Raghav says:

    Well thats an amazing list, but I still would prefer working on photoshop, its simple and more importantly i am used to it

    And the most important fact: its on my PC and i dont have to upload images to some other site.

  18. Hi Darren,

    Great tools! I knew about PM, all the rest are new to me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  19. Hi Darren

    Great Tools Simply !!!!
    I have used skitch only..but its quite helpful one to go through all…surely gonna help a lot !!!

    Thanks for sharing

  20. Liem says:

    Wow thanks for sharing. Very useful tools. This is exactly what I need.

  21. Jon says:

    Some great suggestions here… especially Mindnode which I have used for a while.

    A couple of other suggestions for you to try out…

    Scribus – free desktop publishing software (I have my first eBook coming out soon written in Scribus – easy to use, so far so good!)
    Jing – free snipping and screenshot tool – brilliant, must have tool. So easy to use, I love it.
    GIMP – image editing software, have downloaded and had a bit of a play, seems pretty straight forward. Have not really put it through its paces yet.

    I hope you get some value out of these tools !

    Please check out my site when you get a minute. I’m new to blogging and keen to take any constructive feedback at all !

    Jon
    TheSalesJourney.com

  22. Samantha says:

    I use the Preview app on my mac for a lot of basic editing, including resizing photos for my blog. It has a lot of features packed into it and is quick and easy to use.

    Other than that, I use PicMonkey or Photoshop Elements with the Totally Rad plug in.
    It’s great there are so many free and easy to use options out there.

  23. Gary Trewick says:

    These are some great tools – thanks a lot for the insite – will be using them on my blog.

  24. Dare says:

    Hi Darren,

    Being an Adobe photoshop CS4 geek, I primarily use it to edit my images ( putting effects, changing colour, and of course to reduce image size).

    However, for image size reduction, I use an online tool called jpegmini to reduce the original file size. It is capable of reducing an image to one-fifth of the original size. it is absolutely free.

    I used and combine this tools on my new blog..

    Thanks for sharing!!

  25. Dave Wonders says:

    Greenshot is great for screen capturing needs! It’s super simple.

  26. John Tabita says:

    I use Gimp, which is a free, open source knock-off of Photoshop. It comes with all the same filters, and since I’m familiar with Photoshop, no learning curve.

  27. Chad Brooks says:

    I use Over and Mextures on my iPhone for almost all of my images on my site. It keeps a pretty cohesive look and I get compliments on it all the time.

  28. Neena says:

    Funny – I use all of the tools that you mention. It’s a toss up between Picmonkey and Canva for me. I use the premium of Picmonkey because I use the fonts and objects a lot. I also have Adobe Photoshop elements 12 which I like better than previous versions.

  29. Chuka says:

    Nice one, never heard of some of these tools before but they seem like a great tool to try, I use photoshop sometimes and I think it’s great

  30. I use too many different web sites and apps for image editing to name, but two of my favourites are BeFunky.com, and Repix. After reading this blog entry and checking out Canva, I can see it quickly becoming another favourite!

  31. David says:

    I have not heard of these tools before. Thanks for sharing. I mainly use GIMP to edit and create images.

  32. John Smith says:

    Image is always important for a post as it improve the quality of a post by making it more interactive to the reader. These tools are really useful to create image in easily and better. Thanks for sharing these information.

  33. Andy says:

    GIMP is a great free alternative to Photoshop. It’s also great if you have Photoshop Elements but someone sends you a Photoshop CSx file with layer sets (which Elements can’t open) that you need to access – although I’ve noticed it doesn’t always get it perfectly correct it’s usually enough if you need to pull apart layers.

    Yahoo’s Smush It (http://www.smushit.com/ysmush.it/) is a great online tool for reducing the size of image files without reducing quality. It’s amazing how much you can save even if you think your image editing software has already done it for you.

  34. Emma Davis says:

    I am always stuck for relevant (or not) decent images to use when blogging use so this post is a great resource, thank you.

    I have already signed up for Canva as it looks great.

  35. Paul says:

    Thanks for the great list Darren, I always photo shop a lot over board. Thanks again

  36. Tiziano says:

    Thanks Darren for this tools ;)

    Good tool in infraview, with web plug-in for compressing image.

    Tiziano

    • I use Irfanview a lot for minor and quick image work with the addon pack. Always thought it was great for this sort of work. Anybody else use Irfanview much?

  37. Berty says:

    For quick image resizing you can use this online tool
    http://easyimageresizer.com

  38. Nguyen says:

    awesome information! This is what I’m looking for. Took me a while to find this. Thanks for sharing!

  39. Serge says:

    Nice list!

    Since I was using only Power Point…probably will try out some of your suggestions.

    Thanks a lot!

  40. Abel Ligas says:

    Amazing information! This is what I’m looking for. Took me a while to find this. Thanks for sharing!

  41. Rachel R. says:

    PhotoScape. It’s free and way easier to use than Photoshop. Not so much functionality, but all of the basics and then some.

    (I would love to use PicMonkey, but it requires Flash and Flash hates my computer for some reason. If anyone knows of a similar program that can be used offline/without Flash, I’d love to know about it!)

  42. Have not heard of Canva. Thanks heaps. Just signed up and looking forward to playing around with it too . And thanks to Nikki for the heads up on Snagit!

  43. Souri says:

    I highly recommend to use Aperture or Lightroom for your pictures … costs a bit of money but it is worth it for the sorting and processing capabilities. There are also lots of easy apps on the mac available for creating nice effects and collages. No need to buy premium subscriptions for web based apps.

  44. JR John says:

    Chalk one up for PicMonkey.

    I’ve used that heavily, particularly in previous blogs, although not so much in my current one.

    Any free image tool, and I’m grabbing it with both hands! Thanks for the list!

    Regards,
    JR John

  45. Wow, great post. Now I’m trying to understand PicMonkey =) This program has great effects, like in Instagram. I usually use Photoshop for my Blogoloola. But it takes much time =( Thank you for these links! ;)