The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos

Marketing your business, creating an engaging website, or even spicing up your Instagram feed—each of these endeavors relies on choosing captivating images.

When you’re ready to take an image to the next level, you might want to add a few words of your own—your message, the date of your next big gig, or the text of your latest ad campaign. You can add anything you’d like to stock images (as long as it’s not defamatory) and use the customized image on your website, in print advertising, social media, and last but not least, your next meme.

When it comes to photo editing, a lot has changed

A few years ago, customizing an image with text meant hiring a graphic designer or, at the very least, investing your time and money in photo-editing software. Today you can add text to images in a matter of minutes with no software upgrade, no expensive expert, and no headaches.

As social media sharing has intensified, a wide range of online applications for image editing—including adding text—have popped up, and some of them are very innovative AI photo tools worth discovering. We tested seven of the most popular apps.

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Visme is a very complete design tool, with a super simple-to-use image editor that makes adding text to images a breezy task.
You can try Visme for free, for as long as you want, and design anything you like with no restrictions!
If you later decide to download your creations, you can opt for one of their affordable subscription plans.
And if you want a full, up-to-date take, check our list of the best free design software tools: all of them can add text to an image! Below, we feature some of our best free trials for you.
Learn more about commercial use of fonts, fonts for logo design, and much more: a fonts' breakdown for graphic designers.

What we looked for in text-adding apps

We looked for solutions with these qualities:

  • Easy to use
  • A variety of fonts available
  • High-quality finished product
  • Online and web-based
  • Cost-effective (that includes free apps to add text to images!)
Bonus tip: Most of the tools we list include a library of design templates for popular things like print materials (flyers, business cards, etc.) and social media graphics (Instagram stories, Facebook cover, and more).

Let’s get started.

Canva

canva > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photoswww.canva.com homepage

Canva walks you through a series of user-friendly tutorials that will leave you feeling like a designer in no time flat. When you’re ready to make something great with the images you’ve discovered, the best place to start is with Canva’s tutorials on branding, color, choosing and pairing fonts, photo filters, backgrounds, and shapes. What you’ll learn will help you marry your photos to text for a happily ever after.

Here’s how we used Canva free to add a quote to an image:

canva sample image

Our take: Canva’s motto is “empowering the world to design” and we think that’s exactly what it’s meant to do. If you are looking for a Photoshop alternative, Canva is a great place to start.

Cost: Canva’s basic platform is free. Additional features are available in the Canva Pro service, which you can try for free for 45 days with our exclusive deal! More info about their costs in our Canva Pricing Breakdown, and the full scope in our Canva Pro review.
If you're unsure which version suits you better, read our Canva Free vs Paid analysis!

And remember our exclusive Skillshare offer to learn how to use Canva for social media content creation, for free!

Shutterstock Editor

wwww.shutterstock.com homepage

The stock photo titan, Shutterstock, isn't just a very big stock photo library. They also offer very cool creative tools such as the Shutterstock Editor, a user-friendly, online image editor that performs simple edits in a quick and beautiful way.

You can launch it directly from images pages on their catalog, as well as on their own page on their site. And you can work both with Shutterstock photos –you can even start with the watermarked preview and automatically save all edits on the high-res photo once you decide to license it–, and your own pictures using the upload feature.

Adding text to your photos is breezy and simple, and you have a nice selection of font styles (and even pairing suggestions), colors, and sizes including preset sizes for title, subtitle, and text. Combined with features for cropping and resizing, filters, effects, and custom elements, you are set to create unique images in no time. Not to mention, this tool also comes with lots of ready-to-use templates!

Here's a little thing we did using Shutterstock Editor, it took us less than a minute!

shutterstock 174848108 > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos
Image created with Shutterstock Editor

Our take: The Shutterstock Editor is perfect to create stunning social media graphics in a split second, and the ultimate ally if you have a Shutterstock subscription!

Cost: It's completely free (you only need to pay for the royalty-free images if you decide to use those).

iStock Editor

iStock Editor > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos

www.istockphoto.com homepage

Renowned stock photo agency iStock offers its customers their very own, web-based image editor to customize the photos from their collection in just a few clicks. It has its own page, and you can search images from their catalog directly in the editor, too. Bear in mind, that this tool is only available for iStock images.

The iStock Editor is very easy to use, you don't require design skills to work with it. It makes it super simple to add text to images, by giving you customizable text boxes in different shapes and styles, plus a wide selection of fonts, colors, and sizes. The editing set is complete with preset popular sizes, custom dimensions, cropping, filters, and custom elements such as logos and graphics.

Our take: Any iStock customer will have it very easy adding text to images with this tool, it takes literal seconds and it's readily available, which also saves a lot of time. It's simple, but does the job nicely!

Cost: The iStock Editor is free, the images are what need to be paid for.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express

www.adobe.com creative cloud express

Conceived as a user-friendly tool for the non-designers, Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly known as Adobe Spark) encompasses the most powerful and sought-after features in the various pro-grade Adobe tools –like Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightworks, Premiere Pro, etc.– in one app with a simplified interface and straightforward functionality. This software has tools for image editing, graphic designing, publishing, and even animation and video editing. There is a free version that is pretty capable, and also a paid membership with access to premium features.

What we care about here is the image editor, which includes a super easy-to-use feature to add text, that produces beautiful results. You can either start with one of the thousands of templates available, for pretty much every digital and print use imaginable or go for a clean slate and add elements however you like.

Tools to Add Text > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos

The text tool comes with lots of fonts, colors, and sizes, and it's as easy as to select a text placement in the design and add your copy. Plus, you have lots of tutorials at your disposal to learn how to make the best of Creative Cloud Express for your visuals.

Adobe Creative Cloud Express Add Text > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos

Our take: Adobe Creative Cloud Express is perfect for people who want the polished, professional look of visuals created with Adobe tools, but lack the knowledge/skills to use Adobe tools (and the time it takes to master them). It's especially useful for quick yet important visuals, such as Instagram posts and Instagram stories, website hero images, and more.

Cost: There is a free Adobe Creative Cloud Express version, which has access to a limited selection of templates, design assets, Adobe Fonts (important for adding text), and free photos, as well as basic image editing –including a useful background remover, and even animation tools–, and 2GB of storage. This version is free for all, and it's good enough for creating basic (but effective) designs. If you want the full power of Express, however, you should consider their premium membership. Starting at $9.99 per month –you can save some more if you pay for a whole year upfront–, you get everything from the free set plus premium templates and graphics, millions of Adobe Stock's royalty-free images, publishing and branding tools, 100 GB storage, and more. For less than ten bucks a month, it's certainly a good deal.

Visme

visme text adding > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos
www.visme.co homepage

Visme is an online design tool that aims at taking care of the entirety of your creative workflow. With a user-friendly concept, this platform not only has an image editor but also multiple features for visual content creation: social media graphics, a presentation maker, an infographic creator, even an eBook designer, and much more. From basic to advanced visuals, Visme can handle it all.

You can either start from a template and customize it with your copy or go for a blank canvas and add your design elements as you go, including text fields. Either way, adding text to an image is deadly simple with this tool.

You will not be short of choices for fonts and font pairings, font colors, and other useful resources to make your words stand out in your design. There is a help center and a section full of tutorials to help you out, too.

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Our take: Visme is a fine option for those who like to have specific tools for specific tasks, all in one hub. And you don't need previous design skills so it's for everyone.

Cost: You get free access to start designing (including adding text to your images), but if you want to download your designs you need to sign up for a paid subscription, which starts at $29/mo but can get as low as $12.25/mo with an annual plan. The good news is that for a limited time, you can get a cool 15% discount with our special Visme coupon code!

picmonkey > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos

PicMonkey by Shutterstock

A silly name for a serious app. PicMonkey offers a variety of ways to edit your image, including basic edits like cropping, adding effects (we love the Polaroid Fipocmlm effect to give your image a vintage feel), frames to place around your image, textures—here’s where you can add “bokeh” texture, clouds or paint to any image—and themes for holidays and other special occasions.

When you edit with PicMonkey, you can easily add text to images, and adjust the size (up to a font size of 288), color (you choose, on a color spectrum), and font. PicMonkey’s fonts include any font that you can access from your computer, plus custom fonts—our favorites are Tall Dark and Handsome, Alter Ego, and Laughing Gull. The fonts are artsy and interesting, and there are some that you won’t find anywhere else.

We used the free version PicMonkey to add text to this image and the process was seamless:

Wild daisy flower in the meadow. Nature background with copy space. Macro shot

In addition to editing, with PicMonkey you can touch up selfies and standard “headshots” to perfection for your online profile. For a dating website or a professional networking site, you can soften tiny lines, add a bit of color, and whiten your teeth… it’s like getting a free makeover without going to the spa.

Our take: This is a fabulous app that lets you get really creative with images and the text you add. It takes some time to explore all that the app has to offer, so give yourself some room for trial and error as you get to know the ins and outs of this one. One final note: if you’re using high-res images, you may need to resize them, because PicMonkey works best with 16 megapixels or fewer.

Cost: You can use the basic features (including adding text to images) for free. For access to all the fonts, you’ll need a “Royale” account, which is free for the first 30 days and $4.99/month or $33/year after that.

DesignWizard

DesignWizard > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos
designwizard logo > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos

Real image editing magic, DesignWizard is a very pro-like, online image editor developed by WaveBreak Media, a stock video and photography production company that knows all there is to know about image manipulation. Their tool offers basic editing capabilities from cropping and resizing to filters, text overlays, and shapes. They even have a video editing feature! You can register, create designs and save, download, and share them for free, but they also offer a premium version with extra storage and exclusive content.

The editor comes equipped with multiple templates and preset sizes for social media, a library full of professional photos, a variety of fonts to choose from, and a set of filters and effects you can apply to your images. You can also upload your own elements, and they're all highly customizable. The user interface is very straightforward, and they also have great tutorials that walk you through their features didactically.

Adding text to images is very easily done here. You either choose a template and customize the text, or use the text button to drag a text field wherever you want it, further selecting a font, font size, color, and more advanced settings. Here is an image we created with DesignWizard, in less than a minute:

Image Done with DesignWizard > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos

Our take: DesignWizard is perfect for quickly editing images to use in social media, and it's an even more ideal resource if you want to do so in one stop: as they provide high-quality images, templates, and fonts (some best are locked for premium, paid users, but there are plenty of cool free elements), you can simply open up this tool and create a new visual from scratch in no time and without importing any files. We just love it!

Cost: Free for up to 15 MB of storage for your designs, and you pay $1 per premium image/template (but you have access to all editing features!)
Premium tiers are $9.99 and $16.95 per month respectively, with each tier granting larger storage space and more premium content.

Pablo

From the folks at Buffer comes Pablo, a free image editor that makes adding text to images easy. With Pablo, you can upload an image, add text, and share via Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest. Pablo will customize the size of your image for each of the social networks it supports, and you can use Buffer to schedule your postings, all for free.

(You can also save the image to use on your website or in your marketing materials.)

We made this with a high-resolution image and Pablo:

high-resolution image

Our take: Pablo is a perfect addition to Buffer, allowing you to add text to images and schedule for posting across social media platforms. At this point, the fonts are limited to about a dozen choices, and the size of the font is limited to pre-sets of small, medium, and large.

Cost: Free.

BeFunky

BeFunky > The 7 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photoswww.befunky.com homepage

This really is funky—great fonts, lots of ideas, and so easy to use you’ll want to add text to images all day long. Like Canva, BeFunky offers tutorials that will inspire you to use not only its text-adding functions but also its tools, including lipstick, exposure, and rainbows. BeFunky caters to the “maker” crowd with DIY poster tutorials, arts and crafts ideas, and greeting card templates (you can use these to save a lot of money on wedding invitations!). You’ll find a wide assortment of fonts (our favorites are VeggieBurger and Let’s Trace) that you can customize with the colors, outlines, opacity, and sizes of your choice.

We added text to this image in less than three minutes:

befunky sample

Our take: Fun interface and very easy to use. When it comes to adding to text images, BeFunky is as intuitive as it gets. Here’s a plus: the “history” tab takes “undo” and “redo” to a whole new level, letting you keep track of what you’ve done with your image and, at any time, undo the action.

Cost: The basics are free to use and there is plenty to keep you busy. If you’d like more frames, effects, stickers, and templates, the premium plan is $4.95/month or $25.95/year.

Now it’s your turn to add text to images

What are you waiting for? With apps this powerful, there’s no reason not to add text to images. We’d love to see your creations—no matter what photo editor you’re using. Start with getting 200 image downloads for only $99 in our 99club here and get creative! Drop a link in the comments section and share your masterpieces.

Amos Struck

Amos Struck

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus on providing knowledge and solutions for buyers, contributors and agencies, aiming at contributing to the growth and development of the industry. I am the founder and editor of Stock Photo Press, one of the largest networks of online magazines in the industry. I am the founder of Microstock Expo, the only conference dedicated to the microstock segment. I created several software solutions in stock photography like WordPress plugins. Plus I am a recurrent speaker at Photokina Official Stage, and an industry consultant at StockPhotoInsight. I am passionate about technology, marketing and visual imagery.

3 Comments
  1. Most of these are NOT free. They offer free trials, but then you will need to pay. Very misleading.

  2. I was struggling not knowing how to edit background of photo, when I read your article. The information you shared really helped me a lot in my work. In addition, while researching more, I was introduced to an online tool that also has the same function as the applications you shared. That is https://www.stockphotosecrets.com/free-photos/free-background-remover.html. Because it is a list of online tools, it is very convenient because you can use it anywhere as long as you have an internet connection without having to download anything. I share this because I believe it will be useful to you. Try using it.

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