Digital photos from a camera or phone often benefit from editing e.g. to remove red-eye, lighten the image or change the colors and hues. I reviewed Paint.net (excellent free photo editing software) last year but what if you don’t want to bothered installing and learning how to use a full featured graphics program like that?
A simpler way to quickly edit a picture is via Adobe’s free online Photoshop Express Editor. Photoshop Express is an online editor with a particularly easy to use interface – as it is all done via the Editor website there is no need to install anything on your computer. This makes it ideal for quick and basic editing of pictures:
- Edit photos anytime from anywhere
- Crop, fix lighting, adjust color and more.
- Add effects, borders, and text to get unique looks
- Keep your original photo intact, no matter how many changes you make
These features are available for free without any need to sign up – just click the ‘Start the Editor’ link on Adobe’s website here and upload a photo from your computer (JPEG picture, maximum 16 megapixels). Your chosen picture will appear and the Edit menu (example below) lets you to edit the picture – the Basic Tools are really useful:
When you select a tool, a series of thumbnails shows the potential changes to varying degrees as in the example below– just mouse hover over each one to get a full size view of the changed picture and select the one you like most:
Hovering over a tool shows tips on what it does – the rest is self explanatory but you can undo or redo changes, reset back to the original state and hold down the ‘Original State’ button to see instantly how your editing compares to the original. Click ‘Done’ when you’re finished – you have the option to save your masterpiece to your computer or quickly share it on Facebook, Flickr, Picasa or Photobucket.
All the above is free to use without signing up but if you sign up for a free Adobe account you get additional features:
- 2GB of free online storage for your photos and videos
- A personal gallery and profile page
- Slideshow templates and creations
- Video storage and streaming
- Share your gallery and albums to Facebook and Twitter
- Create videos from your photo albums
Adobe Photoshop Express Editor Apps
Express Editor is also available for mobile devices – for Android here and for iPhone or iPad here – so you can even give your phone camera photos a quick edit directly in your phone/tablet, without needing a computer.
Make no mistake, Photoshop Express is not the $1000 Photoshop suite so it doesn’t have the same features – Adobe aren’t going to give those away for nothing! It lacks more advanced tools (e.g. cloning and noise reduction) commonly found in serious graphics editors but this is only to be expected – it is free and online after all.
However, it excels in basic photo editing – just the Auto Correct tool alone can greatly improve a picture with brightness or contrast problems. The thumbnail approach to selecting changes doesn’t let you choose the exact level of change e.g. percentage of increased brightness but I personally don’t miss this at all – it’s much quicker to see the changes than have to guess at a % increase anyway.
Whilst I would keep Photoshop/Elements or Paint.net installed for serious editing, in many cases Photoshop Express does the job just as well – and much quicker.