These days, images are required when it comes to building and maintaining a real estate marketing website. Great images, however, are not a given–and the difference between a gorgeous property photo and a lackluster one can have consequences for your bottom line.
“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.”
— BRIAN REED
Thankfully, there are a wide variety of applications out there designed to help you make the most of the images on your real estate website without breaking the bank. Here are five of our favorite free photo editing tools.
Most photo editing tasks are pretty straightforward: a crop here, a rotation there, adjustments to color and brightness, etc. For these everyday jobs, you want a tool that has the features you need and is simple to use. With Pixlr, you can perform a range of edits on your images without ever leaving your browser.
Pixlr offers everything from cropping, resizing, and paintbrushes to red eye correction, brightness and contrast, color balance, and much more, all in an easy interface. If you’re looking for something simpler, Pixlr Express offers beginner and intermediate users a range of one-click automatic photo adjustments, filters, and creative overlays.
When it comes to more delicate editing jobs and design tasks, you’ll likely need a more advanced tool with additional features to get the job done. Photoshop is the industry standard, but most of us don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend just on image optimization. GIMP provides a powerful, open-source, and free alternative.
GIMP offers full support for layers and masks, a good range of sophisticated brush controls, and batch processing for repeating actions on large groups of images. GIMP’s large community of users and nearly twenty years of existence mean that there are also plenty of tutorials out there for the beginner. Finally, as an added bonus, GIMP also requires a tiny fraction of the processing power and memory that Photoshop demands from your system.
“Designing a product is designing a relationship.”
— STEVE ROGERS
You may not be editing photos on your smartphone just yet, but with the increase in flexible on-the-go technology, it’s probably not a far-off possibility. When Twitter was looking for a mobile app to power its users’ photo adjustment and filter experience, they settled Aviary. After using the app for a few minutes, you’ll understand why.
Aviary’s clean, touch-friendly user interface is easy to navigate and loaded with enhancement tools for making quick edits in the field. In addition to the standard one-touch effects and filters, Aviary offers red eye, tooth whitening, and manual blemish remover tools for portraits. Users looking for more filters and adjustments can expand Aviary’s functionality with downloadable premium themed content packs. Aviary also works across platforms, offering both iPhone and Android apps.
Graphic Design: Canva
Property photos aren’t the only visuals on your website that need optimizing: there are also logos, graphics, textures, and other design elements to consider. Normally, these tasks would be reserved for a qualified graphic designer. With Canva, however, you can get in on the action.
Geared towards mainstream users, Canva offers an easy to use drag-and-drop interface and access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. You can choose from several available templates, or create something from scratch with a custom-sized blank canvas. While many Canva elements are free to use, others are premium options that will cost you. Nevertheless, you can easily upload your own photos or graphics from your hard drive, Facebook, or other royalty-free sources.
Obviously, it’s important that the images on your website are high quality. That said, it’s also crucial that your website loads quickly and consistently. Extremely high-resolution images mean larger files, which can slow load times and turn off more visitors than they attract.
Luckily, there’s a solution: Smush.it. While other compression methods tend to sacrifice image quality in order to shrink files, Smush.it is a “lossless” tool that removes unnecessary bytes from image files without changing their look or visual quality. Simply upload your image to the site, and Smush.it takes care of the rest. Smush.it works with all file formats and accommodates images up to 1MB in size.