Online tools for easy photo manipulation: add effects, HDR, remove backgrounds, write on photos and much more

Photo special effects Adobe Photoshop is the gold standard of photo editing software, the tool of choice for many professional and amateur photographers and graphic designers. But many of the complex functions that once could only be done if you were a master of Photoshop can now be achieved using free programs that can be downloaded to your computer or used directly via the web app.

We will show you in the following guide how to apply special effects to photosusing only web apps or applications that are simple to use every day for the purpose, without having to read tutorials or try to learn how to make a certain type of effect.

READ ALSO -> Best apps for perfect photos from phone

1) Black and white

If we want to apply the black and white effect to photos we can use the site PhotoEffetti, which allows you to get beautiful black and white photos in just a few taps; from the same site we can get therepeating black and white effect o l’black and white pencil drawing effect.

Anyone who wants to use a program to apply the black and white effect can rely on GIMPloading the photo into the interface and taking us to the path Image -> Mode and pressing up Greyscale; alternatively we can go to the menu Colorsopen the menu Desaturate and press on From colors to grey.

2) Add photographic lighting

Another effect widely used to beautify photos is photographic lighting, which gives the impression that the photos were taken in a room lit with spotlights for photographs, even if in reality we have not used any spotlights.

To apply this special effect to any photo, open the GIMP program, load the photo into which to add light, press Filtersclick on Lights and shadowswe load Light effects and we use the various menus to adjust the addition of light beams to the photo, also choosing the size of the beams, the angle and the point to illuminate (we can also add two light points, but let’s avoid exaggerating so as not to create overexposed photos) .

3) Old film photo

Among the most used effects we certainly find the old film effectwhich automatically ages photos to make them look like they were taken many years ago with an old film camera.

To immediately obtain this effect we can use the web app of PhotoFuniawhich has a special filter to instantly age any photo, applying the right shade of yellow and gray to every shot we upload to the page.

If we want to act with a PC program, just open our trusty GIMP, take us to the path Filters -> Decorative and load the filter Old photoadjusting the settings according to our needs and according to how “old” we want the photo we are editing to be.

4) HDR effect

L’effetto HDR (High Dyamic Range) it is a technique used to create photographs with perfect colors so that both light and dark parts look like they were photographed with the right exposure to light. This technique is achieved by combining several shots of the same image.

The newest digital cameras and many smartphones have built-in HDR function, in which the device automatically takes multiple photos and processes them. In the absence of an HDR camera, you can still manually create this effect using Photoshop or any other photo editing software, although this can be time consuming.

The easiest way to create an HDR effect is to use Fotora free Flash-based online program that features HDR image creation.

Fotor can also realign objects and reduce any movement that may have occurred from shot to shot. Besides Fotor there are also other web apps for fix photos that are too light or too dark (HDR images).

5) Background removal

Removing the background from a photograph is one of the hardest jobs to do in Photoshop. Even many professional graphic designers have to work hard and have patience to do this.

For those who want to do something quick, however, there is Clipping Magic, an easy and effective online tool. To use it, upload a photo, mark the areas you want to keep in green, and mark the background to be removed in red; auto crop will do all the work.

The nice thing about this software is that you don’t need to be too precise in marking areas and the tool is very smart. If you don’t like it, we have seen that there are also other web apps for remove the background from a photo.

6) Remove objects from a photo

If you take a beautiful photograph ruined perhaps because a stranger has entered the frame or because a garbage can can be seen, it can be removed.

Always without using Photoshop and with a technique similar to Clipping Magic, you can use it cleanup.picturesone of the best sites for removing a single object by smoothing out the background, making it look like that object was never there.

In another article we have seen the best tools for delete objects from a photo by removing items and people from the image.

7) Photo Collage

If you want to create a collection of pictures from your vacation or weddingyou can use a program that resizes the photos and puts them all together on one page.

This time we can use BeFunkyanother free web app that allows you to upload photos and drag them into the collage in various configurations, so as to create a single image with many different photos.

Still on collages we can read our guide to photo collage maker software.

8) New filters and effects

Photo filters they have become a bit of a trademark for applications such as Instagram which have made them immediate to apply on photos taken via iPhone or Android mobile phones.

In another article we have listed many web app with filters and effects for photos similar to Instagram among which we can remember Pixlr Xone of the easiest and most fun.

By opening this photo editor it is possible to select an image from the computer or take a new one with the webcam and choose from a large variety of filters and effects that can be previewed live.

9) Mirror Photos

The web app ResizePixel is the one to use to create a mirror reflection effect of a photo. ResizePixel is an easy to use tool: just upload a photo, make some adjustments to orientation and size, hit the “create reflection” and immediately receive the new mirrored photo.

To create the reflection effect also with GIMP, all we have to do is open the program on our PC, load the photo to be reflected, press at the top on Image -> Transform and click on Flip horizontally o Flip vertically.

10) Image resizing

Perhaps the most-used feature in any photo editing program is that of resize images. You don’t need to use Photoshop to do this, just upload the photo to the site Pic Resize and you can make the image 25, 50 or 75 percent smaller or set a custom size; from this site it is also possible to crop and rotate the image before resizing.

Another effective program that we can use to resize one or more images together is Irfanviewa true point of reference for anyone who wants to resize photos from a PC.

11) Write on photos

To write messages or various writings on photographsyou don’t need Photoshop or CorelDraw, just upload the photo to a web application like Canva.

In another article we have seen the best tools for write memes on photos.

12) Draw on photos

For those who really want to indulge their imagination we can use Sumopaint Xthe web app that allows you to draw on photos and turn each image into a painting.

13) Crazy effects and fun photo montages

The site PhotoFuniaalready seen in a previous chapter, is one of the best web applications for creating funny, ironic photos and modifying photos so much that they are unrecognizable.

It is one of the apps to do photomontages of the face in different scenarios, backgrounds and bodies. With it, you can place a photo of your family on a city billboard, create magazine covers or an art gallery.

PhotoFunia takes the uploaded photo and automatically inserts it into a predefined image.
Another fun web app already seen in the guide is BeFunkyalso very good for making photo montages and for apply a cartoon effect on a photowrite on photos, use special effects and frames.


Apply special effects to photos it has become an operation within everyone’s reach thanks to free web apps and a free and open source program like GIMP, which allow us to embellish our photos and apply spectacular effects without having to be professional photographers, using only our imagination and our mouse to choose from time to time the best filter to make photos unique.

To learn more, we can read our ai guides sites to edit photos quickly without registration and to the best online photo editor to crop images and add filters.


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