By Joan Stewart
You need a creative image for a blog post, your author media kit or other marketing materials.
If you can afford it, you grit your teeth, whip out your credit card and buy a pack of 10 from those pricey stock photo sites. Or you use a cliché stock photo from one of the many free sites.
Sure, you can create something unique at Canva. But if you’re impatient like I am, you don’t want to struggle with a site you don’t use often, especially when you’re in a hurry.
Welcome to PhotoFunia.com, my favorite, number one, five-star, go-to website for creating offbeat effects from a digital photo you already have, even if it’s just your head shot or book cover.
It’s drop-dead simple to use. Most images, also known as an effect, can be created in less than 60 seconds with no technical skills. And you don’t need to create an account or remember a username and password.
Just hop on over to PhotoFunia.com:
- cruise through the offerings
- choose your favorite image
- upload your photo to insert into it
- crop it
- download it
- save it to a folder
It’s that easy.
Because I’m The Publicity Hound™, I created this simple image in about a minute:
Choose from More Than 600 Images
This site is a goldmine for authors because, in many cases, you’ll be able to find an image that’s related to the topic of your book.
If you write about photography, you’ll find a Photography category with 37 images.
Romance novelists, choose from more than 21 images in the Valentine’s Day category and many more throughout the site.
Write murder mysteries? There’s a Zombie, a woman with a gun, a few “Wanted” posters and a slick “FBI ID.” Just insert a photo of what your FBI agent character looks like and you’ve got a fun image. You can find generic head shots of men and women at Pixabay.com, the best free stock photo site. That’s what I did when I created the image below.
If you publish art books, you have 38 choices in the Galleries category.
Write about celebrities? Choose from 24 images. My client, Rick Lenz, who writes novels with a Hollywood twist, created this image of Marilyn Monroe, who’s a major character in his book, “The Alexandrite.”
Cookbook authors, insert your head shot into a cup of latte. Or put it on the label of a wine bottle.
Need a holiday-related photo? Choose from images in the Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween categories.
Even if you write fiction or nonfiction on a topic that doesn’t dovetail with any of the categories or images, you can put your head shot and book cover on a giant Times Square billboard. That’s what author Tim Patterson did with his nonfiction book Tradeshow Superheroes and Exhibiting Zombies: 66 Lists Making the Most of Your Tradeshow Marketing. He also placed the cover on a side of a double-decker red bus.
Insert Text, Too
If all you need is an unusual image that you can customize for your needs, but you don’t have a photo, you can insert text.
Here’s a photo I created for an article at my blog under the headline Brand Your Business with a Gusher of Local Publicity.
Create Animated Images
You’ll love the 13 animated images, perfect for sharing on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Go to the search box in the upper left corner of the PhotoFunia homepage and type “animated.” You’ll find images of:
- falling snow
- a woman fanning herself
- a photograph on fire
- a woman dancing on the set up of a 1950s-style TV show
- and more
Elsewhere on the site, I found animated images of a Santa making a snow angel, and a woman holding a sparkler, perfect for the Fourth of July.
Photofunia recently added the Banksy Shredder image. It’s patterned after the stunt that Banksy, the street artist, staged when he shredded his $1.4 million “Girl with the Balloon” photo at a Sotheby auction.
Read the Terms of Service
PhotoFunia’s Terms of Service say I’m not permitted to link to anything other than their homepage. But if you go to the site and scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see “Terms of Service.” It prohibits you from using the images for commercial purposes. That means you can’t use the images on T-shirts and coffee mugs that you sell, or for the covers and interiors of books you sell.
I contacted them and asked if the images can be used for things like blog posts, email newsletters and marketing materials and they said yes.
I also asked them if one of my readers, Kristi Lynn Glass, could use the clothes pin image below that she created from one of the PhotoFunia effects. She added the green section at the bottom, using Canva. PhotoFunia said yes. Think of ways to use this free picture editing tool to market other products and services you sell, not only books.
If you have questions about whether you can use an image, or you have an idea for an image you’d like them to create, use the contact form at the bottom of the homepage under Support. It may take a few days before you get an answer.
PhotoFunia has apps for:
- Windows Phone
- Blackberry 10
- Firefox OS
- Sailfish OS
You can find those links by clicking on the Help section at the bottom.
Now go have fun with PhotoFunia! But before you leave, take a minute and share some ideas in the Comments about how you think you might like to use this fun, free tool.