There is no doubt, Instagram is one of the great social media platforms to showcase your business, your people, behind the scenes and even promote your products. With all these possibilities the task of keeping your Instagram account fed and good visuals produced can become a job all by itself. Luckily, creating images for Instagram is not as scary as it seems with free Instagram tools that can do your job easier in the office, or even on the go.
I have covered the free tools to schedule Instagram posts here and here, so today I want to talk about some free tools that can help you create great visual content to post on your Instagram account. Some of these tools can be used on your computer, some on the go on your mobile device and all of them are free!
So, let’s get to it.
You are so in luck with what today’s technology offers. Gone are the days when the only way you could create or edit a decent image was to do it in a Photoshop (which was complicated and pricey).
PicMonkey is loved by many. And what not to love?! It is very easy to use, has a bunch of options, like color treatments, stickers, frames, words you can overlay of the swatch of color you like or over your own image, preset Instagram-friendly size, ease of saving your file or ability to touch up your photos or create collages. All this goodness for FREE. Yes, there is a paid version as well, but the free version offers plenty to satisfy your image creating needs.
To create an image with PicMonkey start with Design option, choose a preset image size or choose Custom. For Instagram, you can use the classic square.
Next, unless you want your image background to be white, choose your Canvas Color. You can enter the color code, if you have it, or use color picker to choose a color that looks good to you.
From there, go crazy!
PicMonkey offers you myriad of options to apply to your image:
- Black and white
- Dark edges
- Touch up settings to fix up things like:
- Red eye
- Eye shadow
- Text allows you overlay the text and it offers a ton of fonts like:
- Special Elite
- Sue Ellen Francisco
- Lobster Two
- Overlays of various vector images to add over a background almost like a scrapbook. Includes things like:
- Ordinary beasts
- Frames that include:
- Rounded corners
- Drop shadow
- Polaroid frame
- Craft scissors
- Fun texture treatments like:
- Light trails
- Theme collections that have all you need in one place. You can find awesome collections like:
- School U
- Comic Heroes
Once you are done, save and share!
With all these options you can truly create an image that is unique to you and reflects your personality and your brand.
Canva is another amazing tool, with what seems to be endless possibilities.
Offering options similar to PicMonkey, it goes beyond with options like multi-page documents, e-book design, ability to export in PNG, PDF and JPG, keep history of all your images, a huge library of images that are free or only a $1 per image; and an enormous collection of preset designs for every image size you’re working with.
It offers a wide variety of preset image sizes for things like:
- Social media images
- Facebook header
- Facebook post
- Twitter header
- Twitter post
- Marketing materials
- Business Card
- Gift Certificate
- Blogging and e-books
- Desktop wallpaper
- Kindle cover
- Blog title
- Blog graphic
- Wedding invitation
- Many others
To create an image for Instagram, choose a size from preset social image sizes, or give your own custom dimensions, and from there, the world is your oyster.
- Create from scratch by filling in the background with the color of your choice or…
- Select one of the premade layouts
- Import your own photo or…
- Choose one of the photos available in Canva
- Choose your brand font style from the list of available fonts or…
- Select pre-designed font combinations along with borders, symbols, lines, etc
- Every element is customizable – you can change its color, opacity and size, so you can grab a pre-designed layout and make it completely yours
- The menu items of this free online tool offer:
- Layouts – dozens and dozens of free and paid layouts for everything from a menu to flyer to a Christmas card to e-book to a poster
- Elements which include things like:
- Free photos
- All of this is searchable (1,000,000 images)
- Text which comes in pre-designed font combinations or freestyle fonts with great variety of fonts to choose from
- Background where you can fill in the background of the image you are designing with a solid color, variety of patterns or an image (yours or one from Canva’s library)
- Uploads where you can upload your own photos, background images and such
Once you have created your image for Instagram you can export it as an image or a PDF, download it, email it or share it on social media.
If you really like the design, you can create a copy and make a variation of that image without losing the original one.
Canva offers excellent options under its free plan, or, if you are interested in things like custom templates, preset brand fonts and colors and more, you can upgrade to Canva for business.
You can start with Canva by creating the free account using your Facebook or Google account logins.
Text images and quotes
It’s not a secret that quotes do really well on Instagram.
To create images for Instagram that contain quotes, you can certainly use either PicMonkey or Canva, or, if you are on a go, you can turn to your trusty phone and download a few apps that will help you with the task.
The apps that I use and like for this kind of job are InstaQuote and Phonto.
InstaQuote is a mobile app that allows you to quickly put together quote images that look good.
It comes with a number of pre-made backgrounds and offers a variety of fonts to choose from.
Just pop in your favorite quote, pick the font, size and share it to Instagram right there and then or save for later.
Free version offers a limited number of backgrounds and places the InstaQuote mark at the bottom of every image, but if you want, there is a paid version that offers more options.
Phonto is a neat little app for your phone where you can create quotes by overlaying the text over plain color background (you can choose from several primary colors) or you can import your own photo and overlay it with the text, so endless possibilities there.
Phonto offers a variety of fonts and each font can be enlarged or shrunk and the font color can be changed to flow better with the background.
Once your perfect quote image is done, you can save it on your phone for later or share it on Instagram right from the app.
Since we are on the subject of helpful mobile apps, I also like to mention Layout.
This free mobile app does what it name says, it allows you to create different layouts using your existing images.
If you’ve ever seen the infamous Instagram 9, the image that would tell, in 9 images about your year or event, the Layout app allows you to do just that.
This app comes with several different layouts, two photos side by side, three photos where two are squares and one is a rectangle, one large photo in a middle with smaller photos surrounding it, and more.
All you have to do is chose the photos you want to include, choose which spot they appear in and save. You are ready to post your awesome collage.
Hope you got fired up about these great tools. They are all free, make you look good on Instagram and fun to use.