What Happened to Picnik.com and Top Alternatives

Hi! I’m June, I’m a graphic designer and amateur photographer. Although I usually use Photoshop to edit images for my design, I like to use other express photo editing tools for quick edits, especially for social media posts. 

Once in a while, I like to explore new tools, and that’s how I found Picnik.com. But sadly, I didn’t get to try it out because it’s closed. Seeing a lot of good comments about Picnik made me curious enough to research it. 

In this article, I’ll share with you some of my findings about Picnik.com and other free photo editing tools that are similar to (or even better than) Picnik. 

What Was Picnik  

Picnik.com was a free open-source online photo editing tool founded in 2005. It was mostly used by individuals and small businesses for basic image editing like cropping, resizing, adding colors, adding filters, etc. 

Besides being free and easy to use, one of the features that Picnik users loved was they could share their edited photos on social media like Facebook or other online photo-sharing sites. 

So what happened? Why did such a handy tool stop working? Questions were asked. 

What Happened to Picnik

Remember I mentioned above that Picnik still exists in a way? Here’s why and what happened. 

Picnik was acquired by Google in 2010, and it was officially shut down on April 19th, 2013. When Google bought Picnik, it became part of the Google+ Creative Kit

From research, I found that many Picnik lovers at that time were upset about the shutdown, so Google responded in the “right way” by making the former Picnik Premium features free for users. But was it successful? Not really. 

Google+ was shut down in 2019 and the Creative Kit went with it. 

So what now?

On picnik.com it refers users to Google Photos, however, it’s definitely not the same anymore, it was nothing like Picnik, and the editing features are limited. That’s why people started to look for other free photo editors like Picnik. 

Top 6 Free Picnik Alternatives Photo Editing Tools 

I wouldn’t say Picnik was comparable to sophisticated image editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom, so you won’t see them on the list. Instead, here are six free easy-to-use online photo editors like Picnik.  

1. Photopea

Photopea is a free online image editor that allows you to make simple edits and advanced image manipulation. You can save the file as images or editable files like PSD and AI. 

It’s a more advanced tool than what Picnik used to be, but it’s a good alternative because it’s still easy to crop, add text, or apply filters. 

Photopea’s advanced features can be used for professional photo editing while it doesn’t require a steep learning curve. That’s why I think Photopea is good for both beginners and users with some photo editing or graphic design experience. 

2. Adobe Express

Actually, Photoshop Express is more focused on photo editing, but it only has a mobile app version right now. So if you want to edit photos online, Adobe Express is a better choice. 

From the Try a quick action part, you can find some quick image editing tools powered by Adobe Photoshop. 

If you want to resize a photo or remove its background, simply upload your image and click on one of the quick action options. 

Once you finished creating the image, Adobe Express gives you the option to download the image or publish it on social media. This is a nice feature that Picnik users loved and Adobe Express has it too. 

3. Pixlr

You can choose three options from Pixlr: Pixlr X, Pixlr E, and Photomsh Studio by Pixlr. All of them can be accessed online, so you don’t have to worry about downloading software that would take up your computer space.

Pixlr X allows you to do quick and easy edits such as cropping, resizing, adding frames and text, applying effects, etc. It works similarly to Picnik. Pixlr E is more advanced than Pixlr X because it has more features, but I also find it very easy to use. 

Both Pixlr X and Pixlr E are great for creating images for social media because they have ready-to-use social media templates and you don’t need much graphic design experience to use them.  

Photomash Studio is famous for allowing users to create or edit images in a few clicks. For example, you can remove image backgrounds, make stylish profile pictures, and make punchy YouTube thumbnails in a couple of clicks. 

4. Befunky

Befunky is not only a photo editor but also a tool for general graphic design. It gives you an option to choose which work mode you want and the tools change based on the purpose of work you choose. 

The work modes are Photo Editor, Collage Maker, and Graphic Designer. If you’re looking for similar features like Picnik, choose the Photo Editor

Befunky has many more features than Picnik, and what I like the most is its effects and filters because there are so many options and I can edit the filters with a lot of flexibility. 

Another great feature of Befunky is the batch editing feature, which allows you to edit images all at once. 

5. Fotor

Fotor is another “all-in-one” creative tool where you can edit photos, create a design, or make a collage. The closest tool to Picnik would be the Edit a photo option.

The image editor is very user-friendly and doesn’t require any training to use it. For example, if you want to apply an effect, all you need to do is choose an effect and move the slider left or right to adjust the image. 

From the Beauty option below Effects, you’ll find some advanced tools like Blemish fix or Clone tool, but they are much easier to use here than in Photoshop. 

Besides that, Fotor also has a Batch Editor that you can use for free. If you want to add a watermark or use the same filters for a series of images, the Batch Editor comes in handy. 

6. Picsart

Picsart is a photo and video editing tool for social media. When you open Picsart, you’ll see there are choices of template sizes for different social media. 

The work mode is pretty easy to use. On top of the photo, you’ll see the basic editing toolbar, where you can edit the opacity, adjust lighting, crop, add effects, etc. Choose an option and you’ll see more options on the left panel.  

There are some stylish stickers and ready-to-use text styles you can add to your photos. On the right panel, you can see the different elements in separate layers, which is useful when you add many elements and want to edit them separately.


So here’s what happened to Picnik.com in a few words – Google tried but failed. The famous Picnik photo editor doesn’t exist anymore but there are many great alternatives. The photo editing tools I mentioned above are all free and have online versions. Feel free to give them a try!  

What’s your favorite photo editor?  

About June
June is an experienced graphic designer specializing in brand design. Photoshop is the essential tool that she uses every day along with other Adobe programs for her creative work.

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  • David Lee King

    I think you should have included Canva in your Alternatives section – pretty sure that’s what most people are going to these days!

    • June

      Hi David! Sure! Canva is an awesome tool as well!