How to Edit Pictures on Facebook

Fotoflexer is one of many free online photo editors, which let you adjust almost every aspect of your images, from color correction to special effects.
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

Photos are what make Facebook fun. Without images, you'd see nothing but a news feed full of text, and nobody logs on to Facebook looking to read a novel -- not that we have anything against your aunt Eve's daily potato garden updates.

And although throwing a few random images onto Facebook might make the experience slightly more interesting for your many friends, it's not hard to take your image collection to a more scintillating level. All you have to do is invest a bit of time in picture editing.

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There are three kinds of picture editing to think about when you're considering photos for Facebook. One is editing as a selection process, the second involves manipulating image characteristics using design software and the third is all about arranging your images to best suit your Facebook audience.

We'll start with item one -- selecting the right kinds of images. This rule is easy. Don't upload any pictures you wouldn't want the whole world to see. Be thoughtful and kind with the images you share, and don't humiliate yourself or any of your friends; otherwise, you might lose some of them. And don't bore them by uploading thousands of pointless images of your bellybutton lint. Your friends and family will thank you for your restraint.

When it comes to editing the images themselves, you have many options from which to choose. You won't need to spend a lot of money on expensive photo-editing software. In fact, many powerful tools are totally free (as you'll discover on the following page).

Finally, after you've created albums on your Facebook page, the site provides tools for you to catalog and arrange pictures in a way that makes sense to you and to your friends. As a result, everyone will be able to find specific pictures faster.

Keep reading, and you'll find out how to turn your fun images into masterpieces worth sharing with your whole Facebook world.

Third-party Facebook Photo Tools

With Picnik, you don’t have to download and install software. Instead, you just edit your images right on the Web.
With Picnik, you don’t have to download and install software. Instead, you just edit your images right on the Web.
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

When it comes to photo editing, you could spend untold weeks of your life exploring all of the free tools at your disposal. That's because photo editing, especially with regard to Facebook, is freakishly popular.

You could certainly spend $100 or more on high-octane photo-editing programs, such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel PaintShop Photo Pro. But it's really not necessary. You can find many of the same powerful tools in GIMP, an image-manipulation program that's entirely free. As with a lot of robust programs, this one contains a wealth of icons and buttons, and thus, has a bit of a learning curve.

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If you want to begin playing with your photos immediately, you may want to consider quicker and simpler alternatives. The Web is chock-full of free image editors, and unlike traditional software, you don't even have to download and install them onto your hard drive. Instead, you can simply upload an image, edit it online and then share your finished work of art in a multitude of ways.

You can try editors such as Picnik, FotoFlexer or Phixr, among many others. After you upload your image, you'll be able to tweak, correct or warp your images to your imagination's content. Almost all of these sites have auto-correct functions, which are one-click repairs for color or contrast problems. And if the instant fix doesn't work quite right, they also offer fine-grain controls for changing those same characteristics manually.

Those features are just for starters. These editors let you correct red-eye and tone down blemishes on portraits; they also allow you to add text, line and clip art, vignettes, drop shadows and much more. And in the spirit of over-the-top photo fun, you can layer on the special effects, from blurring and embossing to bizarrely creative color effects.

Of course, once you've completed your one-of-a-kind art piece, you need to decide how to use it. Any Web editor worth using will let you save a copy of your image to your hard drive, from which you can upload it to Facebook. Some others help you post the image directly to Facebook, Twitter or other social networking tools.

Many of the most popular free editors are actually integrated into Facebook. On the site, in the search box, type the name of an editor, such as LunaPic, and you'll see that it's also a Facebook app. Click Go to App and you can install it, which will let you begin working on the images already uploaded to your Facebook account immediately.

The imaging ecstasy doesn't stop there. On the next page, you'll find out how to keep your photos in order -- and as a result, create more fun for everyone who sees your page.

Tips for Editing Pictures on Facebook

LunaPic is one of numerous editors that also appear as an app that integrates directly into Facebook.
LunaPic is one of numerous editors that also appear as an app that integrates directly into Facebook.
Screenshot by HowStuffWorks.com

When you're logged in to your Facebook account, there are two quick ways to begin sharing photos. Next to Share, click Photo, and then click either Upload a Photo (for a single image) or Create an Album (if you want to upload multiple pictures at once). For more details on how to upload pictures to Facebook, check out our article How to Upload Photos to Facebook.

Single photos are generally one-off images that don't need much in the way of organization. Multiple photos, however, get messy in a hurry if you upload them willy-nilly without any thought to how you might want to find them months or years from today.

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Improve the way your photo collection is organized by keeping pictures in order on your hard drive. For example, you might want to create folders for the year, the month and then for the event you photographed. Then upload (carefully selected) images from a single event to a single album on Facebook.

For example, don't lump all of your Halloween photos from multiple years into one huge Halloween party album. Instead, include only pictures from one year. Name the album appropriately and clearly (Halloween Party 2012) to make your categorization system as user-friendly as possible.

After you upload your image collection, Facebook loads the Edit Album page, where you can edit many details of your photos. You can add a description (caption) to individual images, which is fun but time-consuming if you have a lot of pictures. Instead, you can click the Edit Info tab and enter a location and general description for the entire album.

Click the Edit Photos tab, and you'll see more options for photo organization. Simply click a photo and you can tag (name) the people in the image. Begin typing a person's name, and if that person is friends with you on Facebook, his or her name will automatically appear. Tagging is a quick process and makes it much easier for all of your friends to locate pictures featuring certain people.

Below each picture, you'll find the Move To drop-down menu. If you accidentally placed a photo in the wrong album, use this feature to move it to the correct place.

Facebook's photo tools are basic, but they're also fundamental to reining in sloppy catalogs that confuse your friends. And with online photo editors, the fun of image editing means your pictures will never be boring. Together, a nicely edited and organized batch of pictures will make your photos the star of the Facebook show.

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Sources

  • Dachis, Adam. "How to Brighten Up a Specific Part of a Photo with Virtually Any Image Editor." Lifehacker.com. May 2, 2011. (July 6, 2011) http://lifehacker.com/5797565/how-to-brighten-up-a-specific-part-of-a-photo-with-virtually-any-image-editor
  • Facebook Help Center. (July 6, 2011) http://www.facebook.com/help/
  • Germain, Jack M. "Geeqie Image Viewer Geeks Out on Features." Linuxinsider.com. July 6, 2011. (July 6, 2011) http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/Geeqie-Image-Viewer-Geeks-Out-on-Features-72808.html
  • Hewlett-Packard. "Evaluate Your Photos Before Editing." HP.com. (July 6, 2011) http://www.hp.com/united-states/consumer/digital_photography/edit_restore_photos/tips/editing-photos.html
  • Lane, Terry. "Editing Photos without any Expertise is a Snap." SMH.com.au. June 16, 2011. (July 6, 2011) http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/cameras/blogs/imaging/editing-photos-without-any-expertise-is-a-snap-20110616-1g5oy.html
  • Milano, Dominic. "What is Image Noise, Anyway: Digital Imaging Features Demystified." Pcworld.com. June 28, 2011. (July 6, 2011) http://www.pcworld.com/article/231333/what_is_image_noise_anyway_digital_imaging_features_demystified.html
  • Picnik Help Center. (July 6, 2011) http://www.picnik.com/app#/home/HelpHub