Create and Edit Images

There are any number of times when it is helpful to crop an image, add captions to it, or even create a simple text-based graphic. Most of us don’t need – or want – to learn a complex piece of software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Fireworks for performing such tasks. (Though more power to you if you happen to have the chops to use these tools effectively.) Here are a some less expensive and, for the most part, dramatically less complex options:


  • Canva (free basic; $12.95 per month)
  • BeFunky (free basic, $4.95 per month)
  • PicMonkey  (free basic version; $2.75-$499 per month)
  • Vectr (free software for creating vector graphics; online and desktop versions available)


The links on this page go along with The Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox, a free eBook.

Of course, you can also license images (sometimes for free, sometimes for a fee) from a number of sources, including:

  • iStockPhoto: Photos, images, and video clips with licenses starting at few dollars per image.
  • 123RF: A good alternative to iStockPhoto, now that the formers prices have gotten much higher
  • Flickr Creative Commons: Photos and images made available by users of the popular Flickr photo sharing service.
  • Stock.XCHNG: Stock.XCHNG is a free stock photography site (though it was recently acquired by Getty Images, so we’ll see how long it remains free).
  • WikiMedia Commons: A database of more than 15 million freely usable media files.

If you have questions, or want to share your own experiences with any of these tools, please comment below.


  1. Joan Lopate says:

    I’m planning a Introduction to Film Studies online course and would like to use music, images and excerpts from movies as examples. Are there copyright issues connected with usage in my course?

    • Most likely. You can rely on the concept of “fair use” to a certain extent, but if you are using clips and images extensively throughout the course, I think there is a pretty good chance fair use will not cover you totally. (The Wikipedia article on fair use is pretty decent: The safest route is to either get any necessary permissions from the copyright owners (in writing), whether directly or through whatever channel they use to license rights to the works (e.g., Getty). That can be quite a bit of work, so it is also best to assess where it is that you REALLY need to use copyrighted materials. All of that said, I am not a lawyer and I don’t even play one on TV. This is an area in which it would be well worth the expense involved to get a reliable legal opinion. – Jeff

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