Don’t want to download and install software on your computer? If you have a reliable connection, here are a few Web-based programs that will never see the inside of your solid-state drive (SSD).
has a tiered offering that is entirely free. The site separates its photo editing into Pixlr Editor (advanced) and Pixlr Express (efficient). The site also offers a mobile suite so you can edit photos on a smartphone or tablet — both iOS and Android versions are available.
The Pixlr Editor is more like Photoshop. It’s a straightforward photo-editing tool that lets you crop, size, and tweak the image. It has a red eye tool that eliminates those devil eyes that appear when the flash goes off. Express, on the other hand, lets you put creative overlays on your images — this is really for playing with your photos. You can put a stain on a picture to make it look like you rested a coffee mug on the photo, for example.
Note that Pixlr straddles the line between Web-based and desktop image editors: There are both mobile and desktop versions of the software that you can download. However, it’s usually easier to just pop open a browser tab and load up the online version.
Note. The download site does require Adobe Flash to run, so you will need to enable that before downloading.
Sumopaint is one of those “Photoshop lite” image editors that have sprung up in recent years — but it stands out by being truly good at what it does. This web-based software — there’s a download option as well — has a layout very familiar for Adobe users, a tool set that’s easy enough to understand and use, and a minimalistic feel that concentrates on getting the job done. This option is better suited to more serious photographers who don’t want to give up any editing options — and who also don’t want to pay for their editing software.
If you use Microsoft Paint rather than Photoshop, iPiccy might be for you. The site lets you edit photos with an automated process. Rather than using wands and tools to actively edit photos, the effects are applied to the whole photo in most cases.
Click a button to fix images, resize, crop, rotate, flip, change the exposure, and other settings. While iPiccy may sound like a simplified app, there is complexity in its wide offering of editing options. Many settings have a slide rule that let you adjust brightness, contrast, and other functions. The one complaint might be that there is no undo button.
What we would like to see is a reset-to-zero button on the slide rule, because it’s difficult to get the bar back to the beginning if you decide you want to return to the starting point. Several tools, including a blemish and wrinkle remover, help clean up photos. Then you can do a few cosmetic fixes like apply a sun tan, blush, or mascara.
PicMonkey is a favorite editing tool for amateur photographers who want to quickly edit their images and turn them into mini-masterpieces. There are four primary tools in the PicMonkey holster: Editing, Touch Up, Design, and Collage. Editing probably provides the most functionality, allowing you to apply effects, advanced filters, spot correction, and so on. However, Touch Up is also a popular choice for selfies, profile pics, event photos, and so on. As you can see, this suite is designed more for the average person, or those who want the best picture possible for social media or sharing, and aren’t afraid to work on it with more advanced tools.
PicMonkey now operates with a “free trial” version of its full app that ramps up to a minimum of $4 a month after a seven-day trial, but you can still try out most photo editing options for free on the website by choosing “Edit a Photo.”
is an info-graphic oriented web app with free registration and a plethora of templates to choose from. If you want to turn your photo into a chart or include it in a report, this one of the best free options you’ll find. The blank template allows you to add a number of objects and effects if you aren’t interested in an infographic but still want to spruce up your photo and have a little fun with it before posting online.