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We’ve covered online photo editing options before like Fauxto (the online Photoshop clone), Phixr, and Snipshot. While all of them proved easy and convenient to use, another service called Picnik just became number one on my list.

Picnik was written in Flash, and as an online web application, it’s fast and easy to use. The user interface is intuitive, and best of all it’s free. While it’s no replacement for advanced photo editing or programs like Photoshop, it gets your basic photo editing needs done.

Just like many other services out there, it’s an easy way to crop, rotate, and add effects to your photos before you email them or post them to the web.  It works with Mac, Windows, or Linux, and it even works directly with several photo sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa. They also provide a few demo photos if you want to play around with the service but don’t want to use your photos quite yet.

You can also upload a photo from your computer to edit, provide a link to an image on a website, or perform a Yahoo or Flickr image search to select a photo for editing. If you connect Picnik to your Flickr account, you’ll be able to open and save Flickr photos right from Picnik — another great feature to have.

Other Features:

  • Brightness and contrast settings
  • Colors – Use either the Auto Colors feature, or the Neutral Picker which allows you to select what should be white or grey in the photo.
  • Saturation and Temperature option to “fine tune” the photo’s white balance.
  • Change the height and width of your photo.
  • Red-eye— a tool to help you remove all of those red eyes with one click.
  • Creative tools – Add special effects and borders to your photo (much like Photoshop filters).

I uploaded a photo from my computer to edit, and below is the before version, followed by the photo after editing.

Before
Picnik2

>

After
Picnik1

Edits to photo:

In the image above, I used their editing tools to sharpen and crop. Then under the colors tab, I used their Auto Colors feature and let Picnik identify and remove color cast from the photo.

From there, I went to the creative tools and used the “Focal Black and White” option where i selected a focal size that I wanted to be in color, and then the rest was in black and white.  I had the option to select the edge hardness, as well as the amount of fade.

To finish it off, I used the “Rounded Edges” border feature where I could select the background color (I left it as white), and select the corner radius.

When you’re all done editing your photo you have a few options.  First and foremost, you can save it directly to your computer and select the format (JPG, PNG, GIF, etc.) which is great.  Besides saving it to your computer, you can email the photo to friends or family and select the size, or email it to a website. Options include PhotoBucket, Flickr, Image Shack, Wal-Mart Photos, Costco Photos, and the list goes on. And of course, you can print your photo, right from Picnik.

Improvements:

Overall, I really enjoyed using Picnic because it is the easiest one-click photo editing online option I’ve found. It does just about everything I’d need it to do, except it doesn’t have a “lasso” tool which I’ve gotten used to using. Hopefully that’s something that they will add in the future, along with the capability to upload multiple photos at one time.

Those are my two very minor complaints, otherwise it’s a fantastic free service (premium service coming soon) that I’d recommend to anyone who wants to perform basic photo editing using an application that’s intuitive and easy to understand.

After test driving a handful of these services, I’m sold on Picnik.

Source: Thanks for the tip Radu, and Richard!