Albert Qian
August 6, 2014

A Social Media Strategy for Every Budget: Image Editing

Smart Idea Graphic For Hero

Pictures tell a thousand words, they say, and in the social media world these days pictures and images mean everything. Did you know that the Facebook algorithm favors images and videos over articles and status updates? As a small business owner or entrepreneur, images should be a critical part of your content strategy. Creativity is a key part of anything you do, and what you do with images should be at the center of that.

Let’s take a look at some of the tools available on every level.

The High End

WhoAdobe Photoshop Creative Cloud, Older Versions of Photoshop (if you don’t want to pay a subscription)

How Much: Creative Cloud starts at $9.99/month on subscription. Older versions of photoshop start at $600 and go up from there.

Why So Much: Adobe has the photo image manipulation market cornered, and it’s not really going anywhere soon, even though there is venerable competition (see below), but the cost does mean quality. For over 30 years, Adobe has been creating all sorts of software from PDF readers to video editing and sound creation too. When you buy Adobe, you buy something good that’s the equivalent of Christmas morning for a lot of designers and even marketers. That said, this post not being advertising for Adobe, the cost isn’t for everyone.

You Would Go This Route If: Adobe is not cheap, and neither is Creative Cloud. There are a ton of uses for Photoshop that go beyond business and while $9.99 per month is cheap, the long term costs are high. If you end your subscription you presumably lose your access to anything and everything you’ve done. Remember, it would take you about 60 months (5 years) to pay the same as a one time $600 cost of Photoshop in earlier versions. In some ways it seems worth it, in some ways it doesn’t. Go this route if you feel like you want cloud support and will have a company that lasts awhile.

The Middle End 

Who: Canva, Stock Image Libraries

How Much: $1 and up

Why So Much: The middle end doesn’t seem like the middle end when you look at it, but then you realize that images can actually cost a ton. For Canva, the cost of editing and creating images are free, but purchasing stock images will cost you $1 a piece. For stock images on the other hand, what you buy can cost you anything from a few bucks to hundreds of dollars.

You Would Go This Route If: Canva is a great image editor that everyone should use. In some cases, the image acquisition cost is what contributes to the fact that this is middle end, but otherwise the cost here is fairly low too. Additionally Canva gives you images to use in addition to your own, so there’s some time saved there too. This is what I would consider the sweet spot for small businesses.

The Low End

Who: Paint.Net, GIMP, Searching for your own images, Windows Paint, Pinterest

How Much: Just your blood, sweat, tears, and a whole lot of time

Why So Much: The free end is luckily chock full of free tools these days, and that’s a benefit to the end user. The downside however is that if you’ve never used Photoshop, don’t have steady hands, or don’t have a lot of time, it’s going to cost you your frustration. Searching for your images can also be a drag too, since free usually also means finding Creative Commons images off Flickr and other sites (which by the way, is a recommendation, not a suggestion for how you attribute your images).

You Would Go This Route If: Time is a commodity in business, and if you are a lucky person to have it (or an intern), this might be the perfect route for them to learn how to use a photo editing app. After all you can spend hours trying to figure out the intricacies of an app like GIMP, searching for days for the perfect image, and then putting it all together. If this is what you want to do, knock yourself out.