Free Photo Editing Websites And Apps

By Jan 24, 2012 October 25th, 2014 171 Comments

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Picnik used to be the best friend of bloggers everywhere. Then it closed in 2012.

If you are looking for a replacement for picnik, go straight to PicMonkey.com.

All your dreams will come true.

For back up options, keep reading.

A list of free photo editing sites and apps that will make bloggers smile.

Free Photo Editing Sites

Google and Picnik recently released an official announcement that they would be closing the online photo editing tool as of April 19, 2012. Picnik happens to be one of the SITS girls favorite online editing resources, we’ve been utilizing Picnik and singing it’s praises for years now. It was a platform that provided bloggers like us a quick and easy fix for photos we wanted to improve and share online.

So why is Google shutting down Picnik?

Because Google wants to use all those amazing Picnik photo editing tools on Google+. Now when you upload a photo to Google+  you will see an option to edit your photo…looks familiar doesn’t it?


It contains a LOT of the editing tools we’ve grown to love Picnik for.

Adding these elements to Google+  may be a way to gain more users as well as to give Google+ a leg up on Facebook. It really is a great addition to the platform, but already I see some drawbacks. I don’t want to store every photo I edit on Google+. I’ve already experienced the repercussions that arise with so many Google owned accounts…could they block me out of access to my own pictures as well? I want the option of editing and then saving my photos to other sites (like Flickr and Facebook), and lastly I really enjoyed the Picnik collages. It made displaying a lot of pictures in one spot super easy.

So what are some other photo editing sites like Picnik?

I’m glad you asked. I spent hours playing with tons of free options, including the  and these two were the closest to Picnik I could find:

1. Pixlr Express is the faster “no brains” version of Pixlr and my favorite alternative when it comes down to ease of use and filters. It claims to be the “best online photo editor in the world” and I have to admit the site is pretty darn intuitive. It appears they’re already prepared for Picnik’s lost users:


-Easy to use!
-A list of 50 really great filters
-Awesome textures and borders
-Pixlr phone app available
-A more advanced “Photoshop” type editor available for more complex photo editing.


-Pixlr Express does not have some of our “beautifying” Picnik favorites including airbrush, blemish fixer, etc…
-Saves only to your computer without the option of saving to social media platforms.
-Because it’s so simple and easy to use there are no Collages or functions to add doodles, text, speech bubbles etc to photos…unless that’s what Pixlr Editor version of the site is for?

2. FotoFlexer calls itself the “world’s most advanced online editor”…I’m seeing a trend here. Hokey taglines aside, FotoFlexer makes it clear on it’s front page exactly what it’s capable of doing for your photos and I appreciate that. Right away I see that adding text, shapes, and effects are all things that can be done here. Between the two it operates more like Picnik, but in my opinion falls way short when it comes to nice filter options.


-Easy Collages. They don’t have the diverse choices Picnik had, but better than nothing.
-Doodles, text, speech bubbles etc
-“beautify” tools for airbrushing or smoothing
-Allows you to share/save your photos to other platforms (Flickr, Facebook, Photobucket, Twitter, etc…)
-Advanced tools and layers


-The 32 Filters leave much to be desired

If you’re in the mood to research even more alternatives Phixr, BeFunky, LunaPic, FlauntR, Aviary, and Dr.Pic were all popular sites that cropped up in my searches, but in my opinion fell short due to poor functionality and/or other limitations.

And since none of the options listed above offer the same array of collages that Picnik allowed us to choose from, I may end up using a site specifically designed for collages only. Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker has great options for easy collage making and Diptic is an easy phone app option for collage making.


If you have a smart phone than you may be aware of some pretty amazing photo editing apps you can use right from your phone and then save or upload to your favorite site or email account. Phone alternatives I love: Instagram, Snapseed (desktop option available), Hipstamatic, Poladroid CameraBag, PhotoStudio, and for collages Diptic.

photo editing apps
Unfortunately there is no one stop shop alternative to Picnik unless you want to download and learn a software program similar to Photoshop…and even that is not as fast as popping a photo onto Picnik for editing. For now, this might mean utilizing two different sites to produce a photo just the way you’d like. A site like Pixlr or a phone app might be great for adding filters/borders, but Foto Flexer or Big Huge Labs Mosiac Maker might be the place to go for adding extra elements to your photo or for creating a very simple collage.

It’s just a matter of time before any one of these photo editing sites steps up their game to provide all of the same functions Picnik offered. For now, we make do…and mourn the loss of our favorite photo editing service. At least we know there ARE other options.

Rest in Peace Picnik.

For more on photo editing check out another post we published on Free Photo Editing and Collage Sites.


  • Thank you so much for this! You saved me a lot of time! I’m using Pixlr right now, the express version and it DOES have blemish fixer!

  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

    Like many, I had my temporary-loss-of-Picnik-stroke. The thought of finding another photo editing software is daunting. You have given me my weekend back! It’s like a mini Christmas Present…

  • I’m sad to see it go when I was finally getting the hang of it, but I have to say, that I really like picassa…mostly for the collage feature. SO EASY and some great options. PLUS I just did the update (thought it was automatic, but no, you have to request it under the help menu). To my surprise, a bunch of new filters. The text is still not up to par with picnik though. I was going to check out photoscape too (esp after Alison recommended it). Thanks for your research!

  • Grams says:

    Thanks so much for doing some of the research for me. I’ve been wondering where to turn without Picnik.

  • Elyse says:

    I guess it is good that I never used Picnik. But now I might try one of the other tools.

  • Amanda says:

    I’m so glad you posted this! I was wondering what I was going to do without Picnik… now I know!

  • Oh woe is me! I LOVED Picnik! After reading this article I tried fooling around with a photo of my dog on a couple of the sites you mentioned, and it just made me more and more upset about the loss of Picnik. Nothing is as good. I hope you will write a follow-up article or two on this important topic!

  • Gina says:

    Thanks for the summary of options. I was really unhappy when I got the email from Google!

  • Sonia Barton says:

    That’s interesting I don’t use Picnik, I use Picasa almost same thing also from Google, I’m going to have to go do some research and make sure that’s not changing also.

  • Tracie says:

    I’m so thankful that you took the time to research this. I had it on my list to do after my Picnik mourning period ended (and when I find some free time. HAHA! Like that is happening any time soon) and now you have done it for me.

  • Great post and information. Thanks for that. I needed it.

  • Kelly says:

    Thanks for the tips! I am so bummed that Picknik is going away…. That was always my go-to site for photo editing!!

  • Thanks for the info, Kat!

    I use PhotoScape (www.photoscape.org), which is a free downloadable photo editing software, available for Windows users. It has much of the same functions as Picnik and I love it.

    However, I have no idea what Mac users could use, aside from the options you suggested.

  • Rebecca Jo says:

    Thank you so much! I was curious what else was out there as well!

  • Shell says:

    Thanks for the options. I have been so bummed about this!

  • Cheryl says:

    I am soooo ticked about Picnik. I have been playing with it on my google+ and it’s just not the same. What a pain. But I do appreciate the help on finding new sites.

  • Thanks SO MUCH for this post, I was just wondering what to do now that Picnik is closing…

  • zeemaid says:

    Never used Picnik before so it’s not big deal to me but I just don’t get the whole point of google + It seems like just one more social thing to sign up on and spread yourself thin. I’m starting to feel lost.

  • Kimmie says:

    I’m super bummed Picnik will be incorporated into Google+. Does anyone else think it’s wrong that Google is taking over our favorite sites? I’ll have to give Pixlr express a try. Hopefully it will work just as well as Picnik.

  • Twila says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! very happy you posted this!

  • Thank you so much for this post! I was just about to start researching photo editors and these look perfect! So sad to see Picnik go though 🙁

  • Mayor Gia says:

    These are great, thanks!!! I’m totally saving them. I need to be able to resize my drawings.

  • This is great. I use another Adobe platform to edit most of my stuff, but for adding text and making collages, I always turn to Picnik. Your suggestions help me find another place to turn.


  • mindy says:

    Excellent article. I love Photoshop and it really is an excellent tool, but man I LOVE Picnik for the collages. Made making them for blogs so much quicker than PS. I am sad to see them go. Guess I need to purchase some collage templates!


  • Thank you! I knew about Picnik saying adieu and had just started playing with pixlr, but many of the rest are new to me. I’m not currently using Google+ (haven’t signed up for an account yet..gasp!), so I won’t be following picnik there. Now, if only Instagram would make friends with android! ;> :>

  • […] other articles offering helpful tips in the wake of Picnik closing, read this morning’s post on Photo Editing Sites like Picnik and Susan’s article on 9 Photo Editing Alternatives to […]

  • Life As Wife says:

    Holy typos! Sunrise=surprised, thought =though, grey=great

  • Life As Wife says:

    Between my iPhone apps (some of which you mentioned!) and photobucket I don’t even care about Picnik to be honest.

    I’m sunrised more people don’t like photobucket. I use the app to uploa straight from my phone (thought the site works great too.) there are grey collage options, edits and you can store/share trough a lot of different mediums. Easy to use too! (and it doesn’t glitch up like Picnik always did for me.)

    Excited to try your other options!!

    • Kat says:

      You know what’s interesting is Photobucket actually uses FotoFlexer as their photo editing tool! When I clicked through to create a collage on Photobucket you can see it’s branded with FotoFlexer. 🙂 I had no idea!

  • Oh wow! This is super helpful – thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve only just discovered Picnik and was so astonished that a program with it’s functionality was FREE! I mourn it’s loss and all the future fun we would’ve had together. Great to know that there are alternatives. Just to check – do they offer free basic packages?

    Maria xx

    • Kat says:

      Your future with Picnik would have been beautiful. You would have created many beautiful photos together.

      And yes, both of the platforms I listed are free, but the phone apps usually cost a couple bucks. 🙂

  • Barbara says:

    Thanks for putting this together. I used Picnik again today (to make ducks talk of course) and realized I have to stop using it and find something else. This is so helpful.

  • Angie says:

    Nooo! I love(d) Picnik. What a bummer! Thanks for the alternatives, Kat.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for posting this information, I have been wondering what I would do with the announcement of Picnik leaving. This post was very helpful!

  • I need to buy something black, and go into mourning.
    Nah, I’ll just go to Picnik and Doodle that in.


    Truly, this is distressing news! I hope someone DOES step up and pick up some of those one stop shopping options that Picnik offered.

    Thanks for researching this for us, Kat.

    xxx ooo

    • Kat says:

      You know what’s funny? I kept saying “well FINE…I’m just not going to use Picnik at ALL then. Who needs to wait until April? Let the transition begin NOW”…and then I’ll be like “well I just need to make this collage real quick first and THEN I’ll stop using it.

      Looks like this is going to be harder than I thought.

  • Ali says:

    Kat, you just did all my work for me. THANKS! I’ve been all up in arms about this for days. I knew nothing would be as dummy-proof as Picnik, but these are good work-arounds. Damn Google…

    • Kat says:

      I’m actually surprised there ISN’T another dummy proof site with all of Picnik’s options! If I ran a photo editing site I’d be copying EVERYTHING Picnik was doing! Haha!

  • Lisa says:

    Thanks for the info! I’ll be checking these out. I’ve used Picasa before, but it is pretty basic.

  • Thanks for this. I was wondering what to do. I’ve got photo editing software that I use but it’s good to know about the free options.

  • Mrs. H says:

    I am still saddened that Picnik is going away and there is no real great replacement. Everything else does half the job Picnik does but I guess you’re right something is better than nothing.

    • Kat says:

      I feel exactly the same way. Like, these other platfroms are ‘okay’, but not the same. And really, who has the time to learn a whole new editing tool?

  • angela says:

    Honestly, I feel like I owe you a drink or a cupcake or something for all of this research. I am such a novice photographer but loved the Picnik options and wasn’t sure what to do.

    Thank you, sincerely, so very much.

    • Kat says:

      I’ll take both, thank you. 😉

      I just wish I was able to find the one PERFECT solution. These others are decent…but not Picnik.

  • Mirjam says:

    Yay!! Thank you for this post!
    What’s up with Google anyway, first the GFC removal, now this.
    Google, cut the crap already, we don’t like big changes!

  • How funny that I just blogged about this today! I’m very bummed that Picnik is closing. I loved being able to log on and use it at work for a quick edit. I do have photoshop at home, but sometimes it really drags my computer down

    I like the options above, I’d never heard of Pixlr. And I do have a zillion camera apps. But I wanted a good one for the computer for bigger and better edits. I will try Picniks google+ version. I just doubt it’ll stick. *sigh*

    • Kat says:

      You know if they transfer ALL of Picnik’s functionality over to Google+ and fix some of the problems I see with hosting photos over there, than MAYBE it will be okay. Right now I just don’t see myself using that platform for photo editing.

  • I have seriously been upset about picnik closing. It makes me want to punch Google in the face. I use Picnik every day 🙁 I can’t help but think of how much more time I’m going to gave to spend on each post noe. Iy vey. I’m looking into these sites too. Xoxo- thanks!

  • Jennifer says:

    I am so glad you wrote this. I’ve been mourning the loss of Picnik since I got the email.

  • Melody says:

    Mamma Kat, Do you know if their closing will impact the links we have embedded on our blogs!? I really don’t want to have to go back and start that all over again! Please let me know: Maltamura1@gmail.com

    • Kat says:

      That’s a good question! I think they’re doing everything they can to make sure we have time to save and protect our photos. If you’re linking to Picnik from your blog somewhere I would imagine those will break. 🙁

  • Patricia says:

    Thank you for doing all this leg work and passing on the information ~ I appreciate your doing this for us!

  • Thanks for finding us some alternatives! I need to try them out later, I loved picnik!

  • I’m SO glad to read this post. I was in mourning over Picnik’s announcement. Didn’t want to invest in and learn Adobe Photoshop – so thank you for sharing your research and these suggestions. I’ll check ’em out. Another reason I love, love, love SITS.

  • Kendra Neal says:

    I have been using a very cool site for a few months now that has quite a few options like Picnik has/had and more.

    Kizoa: http://www.kizoa.com/

    I LOVE it!! It is FREE to use and has many options for the FREE level. It also has a Premium level, but the FREE is plenty good for my needs.

  • SnipeWife says:

    Shoot! I just had a friend and photographer recommend Picnic to me so I could add a copyright watermark to my photos on my blog. I use Creative Memories products for my editing but they do not have that capability in the main editing software program, only in its design software (for books and cards, etc.) and that would actually be so time consuming. I think I will try FotoFlexer because I’m just looking for that watermark (text) capability. Thanks for posting and saving me time!

  • Ugh, I nearly had a panic attack when I popped on Picnik and saw the news. Thanks, Kat, for spending the time to search out other options.

    I’ve been using Fotoflexer for a few years as a secondary or “quick edit” option. As you wrote, it doesn’t have as many cool effects, but it is a good option when you need to scale photos quickly, add text, or play with some simple filters. Also, I think they have better ‘frames’ than Picnik. But the site does freeze up on occasion.

    GIMP is free also, but I have never been willing to spend the time to figure it out.

    And you can still do collages on Picassa.

    I’ll have to check out all the other sites you listed. Thanks again for easing my photo worries. Cheers!

  • I could kiss you! When I got the announcement about Picnik, I thought, “Great. Now what?” You just answered that for me. Thank you!