Online Photo Editor: Picnik Reviewed

My Review:8


Today I am reviewing a website called Picnik. Picnik is an online photo editing site, and it offers a variety of really useful tools. And it’s free.

Right from the get-go these guys did it right. Without even logging in or signing up you can immediately upload a photo, run a variety of both basic and advanced effects on your photo, and then download the edited picture back to yoursef. The site is all done in Adobe Flash, and it is both fast and responsive.

A whole host of cool features are available, from basic (crop, red-eye, and rotation) to advanced (soften, sepia tone, vignette, rounded edges, etc.) Everything works rapidly and smoothly. Once you finish your edits, you can save a high quality version of your finished photo back to your computer. Here is a picture I started with, and then cropped, turned sepia-toned and whose edges I rounded. The process took me approximately 1 1/2 minutes.

pre.jpg post.jpg
This company has done simple online photo editing right. Many web applications, though interesting or useful, are frustrating because they are slow or inefficient. But Picnik offers a free, useful and effective product. They do offer a registered account, though since they are still in Beta that registration does not yet offer many extra benefits. Look for paid subscription services in the near future (storage and advanced editing features will probably be included.)

Currently it does not store photos online, though a registered user’s most recent picture will persist; additional features like storage may come with paid upgrade accounts in the near future. Picnik does not offer advanced, layered photo editing (like Adobe Photoshop) – nor to my knowledge do any other free web apps currently. Adobe does plan to unveil an online version of Photoshop in the next 6 months or so.

Another great aspect to Picnik is its general connectedness to the world of web 2.0. You can pull images (your own or general content) off of Flickr, edit them, and post them back out to Flickr. Picnik also integrates with Picassa web albums. (Picassa is a Google built downloadable photo application.) Picnik also integrates emailing and printing features for a number of popular sites like Photobucket, ImageShack, Wal-Mart, Costco, Flickr, and others.)

There are a number of players in this space, including:

Fuaxto, fauxtologos.png

Pxn8, pxn8logos.png

and Preloadr preloadrlogos.png

to name just a few. Techcrunch has a great article outlining these and other players, including Picnik – find that article here. Thus far however, Picnik offers a significantly better interface, feature set, and overall package. Picnik is based in Seattle, Washington; I’m not sure what they’re funding situation is like at this point. Great 8.



4 comments so far

  1. Brian on

    Just curious – what didn’t you like about Picnik? What do we need to do to get a 10?

    Team Picnik

  2. Levon on

    First off, please don’t be offended. An 8 (in my personal scale) is an outstanding review. And my reviews are very off-the -cuff (gut feeling related.) Re-reading my own words I do sound very one-sided in my praise, and I can see why someone would wonder why Picnik didn’t get a perfect score. Or are you simply asking to find out what you can do to improve your service? I think there are a couple of small things that could improve the site:

    – I love how simple Picnik is, but a little more messaging about what comes with a registered account would be cool. Right now, as a registered user, I find that my most recent picture DOES persist, but I don’t know how much space I am allocated, or if older photos are stored. And I couldn’t find anywhere that addressed that question.

    – In general, your UI is simple to understand. But it does require some exploration to figure out what is going on. I think that’s probably unavoidable with any application that includes a lot of functionality, but it took me a couple of visits before I totally absorbed and understood the feature set. I don’t have a great suggestion for improvement, other than (again) maybe a little more messaging or a more comprehensive FAQ / help are.

    Truthfully I was back and forth between 8 and 9. 10’s are pretty rare, and most likely to come with something that is dead, dead simple. You guys are taking on a lofty goal in online photo editing, and I think you made a tremendous product. I’m excited to see what happens next.

  3. Danielle Viviam on

    Heyy…will heres the thing i would really like to fix my pictures up by using but wont work on my computer and i have been trying to get it to work but it wont..and i really like to do things with my pictures but it just wont work…so what can i do to make this site work on my computer?

  4. David on

    Hey Danielle,

    I would love to help, but I need a little more information.

    – What kind of computer are you using (PC, MAC, notebook, desktop, processor, etc.)?

    – What browser are you using (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Flock, etc.)
    – Sub Question: What version of the browser are you using (I.E. 7, Firefox 3.0 Beta?)

    My first suggestion to you, in the absence of more information, is to download the newest Flash player. Go here: and make sure you have the most recent version.

    My second suggestion is to go to and find their support section and ask them for help. They know more about it than anyone else.

    Good luck,


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