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The 4 Best (Free) Tools to Add Text to Stock Photos


The 4 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. Our 99Club puts 4 Million of high-quality stock images at your fingertips for only $99, making it simpler than ever to find a picture that really is worth a thousand words.

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 and on social media.

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. We tested four of the most popular apps.

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!)

Let’s get started.


picmonkey logo

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 Film 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, 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 less.

Cost: You can use the basic features (including adding text to images) 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.


pablo logoFrom 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.


canva-logoCanva 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 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 for Work” package, which you can try for free for 30 days; after the free trial, Canva for Work is $12.95/month or $119.40/year.


befunkylogoThis 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.


About the author

I am a publisher and entrepreneur in the stock imagery field. I focus in 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 the PixelRockstar WordPress Plugin. 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.