It’s no secret that people prefer visual content. Articles and social media posts containing images generate over 200% more shares than content without images. Whether you are a blogger, PR professional, or just someone who likes to share cool links on Facebook, you need to include images if you want to reach a larger audience. But where do you start? Creating images for social media isn’t as difficult as it might sound, and there are plenty of tools to help you along the way. You can find free photos online or edit your own photos in one of the many free editing apps. You can even edit photos online, and Canva is one of those tools.
Canva is a popular online photo editor, but it’s not the only one. There are other apps that are similar in appearance and functionality, so switching between them shouldn’t be a problem.
Most apps allow you to create two types of social media images: branding elements (profile and header images) and visual content (photo posts to complement your links and articles). The workflow is quite simple and consistent for different applications. You start with a predefined size template, then add, remove, and edit things like text and shapes. Finally, you save and post the image to your social media profiles. So if you don’t like Canva for some reason or price, or if you want to try a few alternatives, here are seven tools to consider:
You may be familiar with the mobile version of BeFunky, as there is an app for iOS and Android. However, you can also use BeFunky on your computer – in any web browser that supports Flash. BeFunky has three modes: Photo Editor, Collage Maker and Designate . You can play around with the first two, but for social media images you will need the third.
Unlike Canva, where all the available design elements are mixed, BeFunky categorizes them by theme (travel, food, vacation…). This makes finding the right item for your current project a lot easier. BeFunky allows you to save created images on your computer without registration, but for any serious work you will need to create an account. Then you can save images to Facebook, Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as share them on your social media profiles.
Supported social media networks:
- Header Image Templates: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Etsy
- Post templates: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest
- Share on: Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Twitter
Plans: Free (with classifieds, limited to 125 photo effects); Pro $ 4.95 / month (high resolution photos, graphics and additional effects)
Desygner is one of those apps with a lot of smart details that help it stand out from the competition. Let’s start with the interface. If you’ve used Canva before, there won’t be any unpleasant surprises: you choose the items in the sidebar on the left and edit the photo in the main area on the right. This is where you’ll notice the ruler – a useful little addition that makes composing your image easier.
Another area where Desygner stands out is file format support . It can work with PSD, PDF and PPT files and import images directly from Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Once your image is created, you can upload it as a JPG, PNG, or PDF file, share it on social media or email, and even get an embed code for your website. In addition to templates for headers and social media posts, Desygner also offers templates for Facebook, Instagram, and Google ads. You can use it in the browser or download the mobile apps (for iOS and Android).
Supported social media networks:
- Header Image Templates: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Etsy, LinkedIn
- Post templates: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr
- Share on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn
Plans: free; Paid ($ 2.99 / month)
Stencil wants to provide the fastest way to create social media images so you don’t waste time reinventing the wheel. The interface is clean and simple with a familiar left-to-right workflow. You can try Stencil without registration, but you will need an account to save changes. There are also browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
If I had to limit this review to five big things about Stencil, here’s what I’d like to highlight. First, it offers ad templates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. Second, it provides Creative Commons licensed images and icons that you can use in commercial projects without worrying about copyright. Plus, you don’t have to pay for each individual image you want to use, but you only pay once and get a complete package containing literally thousands of design materials. Before posting your image, Stencil gives you a live preview of how it will look exactly when posted. Finally, thanks to the Buffer integration , you can schedule social media posts directly from Stencil. Doesn’t that sound good?
Supported social media networks:
- Header Image Templates: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+
- Post templates: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube
- Share on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
Plans: Free (10 images per month, 10 favorites); Pro $ 9 / month (50 images per month, 100 favorites); Unlimited $ 18 / month (as many favorites and images as you want)
Fotojet looks like a mix of Canva and BeFunky , but seems to work a lot easier than both (at least in my web browsers). The design elements are neatly organized into categories. If those provided by Fotojet are not for you, the search option is there to help you find more. The options for editing images are quite detailed and you can change the color and transparency of the design elements in your image.
You can use Fotojet to create collages and edit photos. It is very convenient to be able to use the fonts of your computer (besides the default ones). Fotojet integrates well with Facebook, so you can log in with your existing account and upload photos from it.
Supported social media networks:
- Header Image Templates: YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr
- Post templates: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest
- Share on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr
Looking for something else?
Pablo is an extremely simple online photo editor developed by the Buffer team. Of course, this means that you can use Stamp to schedule images created with Pablo. It is also possible to share them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Pablo has a Chrome extension, but you can use it in any browser.
It takes little time and effort to learn how to use Pablo. Everything is in front of you: from the ability to upload your own photos to multiple photo filters. The best thing about Pablo is probably the auto resize option . It adjusts your image size for different social media platforms with just one click. Supported presets include Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Pablo does not yet have a template for the header images. This is not necessarily a downside, as Pablo aims to be a quick and easy solution to post photos on social networks.
While Pablo is for users who prefer simplicity, Relay is a full-fledged solution for branded content marketing. As such, it’s more about managing your visuals than editing them. With Relay, you collect and divide images into projects. Each project can contain multiple photos, fonts, colors, snippets, and even SEO related keywords. These are your brand assets. This is a little similar to the “Your Brand” option in Canva .
If you change any of the shared items, Relay will automatically update them in all images and projects. For example, if you decide to change your brand color, you don’t have to do it manually everywhere. On the other hand, if you are not particularly good at color matching, you can use relay themes. These are presets or “sets” of design elements you can rely on instead of tweaking all the details.
You can combine resources to create template-based images for social media. Relay lets you choose models by platform, style and shape. When you select a social media platform, the styling options will scale and show only the templates available for the selected platform. You can schedule posts to Twitter and Facebook, and use the one-click resize option to adjust images for different platforms.
Relay full of interesting options , including the Instagram Plan tool. It helps you view and schedule Instagram posts, so that they form a pattern or big picture when they load on your Instagram profile. How cool is that?
Plans: free (with watermarks); Pro $ 8 / month
Polarr is an online photo editor if powerful that you could consider it as an alternative to Photoshop. Although its interface is unconventional, its features are standard for photo editing software. If you’re feeling confused, Polarr has some fantastic tutorials that walk you through the app, and a guide explains various photography terms in Simplified English. Polarr also has iOS and Android apps, as well as desktop apps and a Chrome extension.
You can test Polarr in any web browser and save images without an account. Polarr doesn’t have explicit options for social media images, but we decided to include it here for two reasons. First of all, there are the filters, which are so great that you might not use Instagram’s filters anymore. Filters are editable and you can even create custom ones. The second reason is the fact that Polarr can import images from a set of services , including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Flickr, Instagram, and Imgur. Integration with popular online services makes Polarr the perfect starting point for uploading your images and sharing them on social media.
Plans: free; Pro $ 9.99 (lets you batch export images, access additional editing tools, and 12 filter packs)
How to choose an online photo editor?
Web tools are great for editing photos on the go because you can use them in any browser – even on your phone. You should aim for an easy and preferably free tool. It should help you automate image sharing and create engaging visual effects, even if you are not a professional designer. Finally, it should support your favorite social media platforms.
Have you ever found the perfect online photo editor? What do you use to create images for social media? If you’ve used any of the Canva alternative tools on this list, let us know in the comments below.