There used to be a time where you either had to go out and buy an expensive image editor or be saddled with some poor excuse of a program that lacked a full set of features.  Thanks to the wonders of the Web, there are now many free alternatives that will allow you to edit photos the way you want, and where you want as you can use them from any computer with an Internet connection.

As the majority of them are Flash-based you will need Flash on the system, meaning you can’t use them on an iPad, but you can still use them pretty much anywhere on the go with a laptop, meaning bloggers have a lot more of freedom when they need to add a picture to a blog post.  While it is doubtful that it will be a long tie until you get the exact same experience you get in a desktop app, there really are some decent alternatives out there.

We’ve gathered up five of the best ones out there to get you on your way with enjoying the freedom these sites give you.

Aviary Phoenix: Aviary is a free suite of tools that includes things like a vector image editor and an audio editor, but specifically we’re talking about their flagship product, Phoenix.  This tool that allows you to upload an image from your desktop, or you can import directly from pretty much anywhere on the Web so long as you can enter a direct URL to it.  You can then do all of the usual tricks such as cropping, resizing, working with layers and a whole lot more.


Photoshop: Adobe, who is synonymous with image tools, brought its popular Photoshop brand to the Web.  What is odd about the site is that while all other online photo editors gave you the familiar photo editor appearance to the tools, Adobe decided to go a completely different approach with bluntly named tools.  The tools do all function well and quickly, but if you are looking for a true online version of the Photoshop you know in the desktop app, you will be a bit befuddled by its “friendly to the masses” tone.

While the site works perfectly well, it oddly only allows you to upload JPG formatted images.


Picnik: Picnik is a quick editor that does all of the basic tasks you could want, and will do even more with a subscription to the service (1 month, 6 month and 1 year options).  In its free version the site allows you to do things like rotate, crop, resize, sharpen and more.


Splashup: Splashup is one of the ore full-featured options in the marketplace and offers you a lot of features of a more advanced editor.  You can also easily add images from the Web, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, SmugMug and Photoburcket.  There is also a downloadable option named Splashup Light that is optimized to run on lower powered computers.


Sumo Paint: Sumo Paint offers all of the basic tools you need, but focuses heavily on image creation by offering a wide assortment of brushes and custom shape tools.  Is very quick and efficient and just feels a bit fuller than most of the options out there.