It doesn’t matter anymore if you use an expensive high end professional DSLR to take a profile picture for Facebook. If it does not have one of those Instagram style vintage filters layered all over it, it won’t get much attention on the social networks.

Gone are the days when a good picture was judged based on clarity and resolution. Look around on the social networks today and the only thing that will catch your attention, apart from loads of hashtags, are the ‘artistic’ pictures everyone seems to create and upload using smartphone Instagram apps.

Does it mean that those without an Instagram account or an expensive smartphone are left behind then? Not necessarily. Today I’ll share a quick tip with you. One that will allow you to get something much better than those Instagram effects and in a much more efficient manner.

Getting started

For our little project here, we need access to the Internet and the images you want to ‘artistify’. While Photoshop is the first app that comes to mind when such a task is to be accomplished, today we will rely on the free online app Pixlr-o-Matic. Simply coz, it has a few advantages over Photoshop. 

  • It’s free
  • No Graphic design knowledge is needed
  • No need to install anything on your computer

To get started, click here to load up the app in your browser of choice. 

Let’s get artistic

The splash screen of Pixlr-o-Matic is rather self-explanatory. You can load pictures from your computer or use your webcam to take a picture right there and then. If you want to just preview the effects, then you can load up one of the stock pictures that come along with the app.


Once the picture is loaded, you are provided with a bunch of options at the bottom. For instance, you will see a whole bunch of filter styles that you can apply to the picture you loaded. Clicking on each will instantly let you preview the effect in a non-destructive manner. Meaning that the effects are not applied to your image permanently and are only finalized once you decide to save the image.


Apart from the filter effects, you also have the option of adding customized borders and texture overlays to your image. The “next” arrow to the bottom right will allow you to navigate between these three sections. The number of combo options that are available to you in those three sections are enough to make sure that no two of your images ever look similar.

If you’re not in a mood to think too much or aren’t sure of how to mix and match between these different options, then the very useful randomize button will allow you to preview random combination of filter effects, overlays and border styles in one go. Half a minute spent playing with that button got me way more than I would’ve accomplished using the official Instagram app.



If you’re still not sure about the best combo, then you can save different versions you like in the form of a JPG image and decide on the final one later. Lastly, to resize your image in a square shape, click on the 1:1 button at the bottom. Easy as they come. 

Essentially, Pixlr-o-Matic is a webapp that strips away advance functions of professional image editors that most of us will probably never use for our basic editing tasks. Instead, it let’s you do things that would take much more time and knowledge to accomplish otherwise.

Ready to surprise your friends with your secret graphic design prowess? Say goodbye to plain profile pictures and say hello to tons of Facebook likes.