How to Edit Stock Photos (using tools already on your computer)

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edit stock photos

How to Edit Stock Photos (using tools already on your computer)

Photoshop is the most popular tool to edit stock photos, but it’s expensive, and for many people, a big commitment to invest in. There are also a number of sites online that will allow you to edit stock photos, some charge a small fee and others allow you to do certain things for free. However, there are ways to edit stock photos with software most people already have installed on their machines. I use PCs, so Paint and Microsoft Office Suite are the tools I use. However, I know Apple Computers have similar software. The photo I am using was taken by If you like it, there are many more beautiful stock photos available for free – all you need to do is sign up to receive the newsletter and you’ll get the password to access the free photo packs.

How to Edit Stock Photos in Paint

Paint is probably the least functional program for customizing photos, but there are still things you can do to make changes. The nice thing about Paint is that it is a standard application on PCs, so it’s always available, and it’s easy to use. Here are a couple of the ways you can use Paint to customize stock photos.

  1. Open the image you want to edit in Paint. I’m going to use the first one in my list of recent documents. Alternatively you can open the folder where your picture is stored, right click and select which program you want to use to open the picture.edit stock photosedit stock photos
  2.  If your photo is too large to see the entire image, click on the view tab and zoom out until you can see the entire picture. edit stock photos edit stock photos
  3. Here is an example of some editing I did to my photo. I cropped the notebook and paintbrush using the select and crop tools.edit stock photosedit stock photos
  4. I added text to the notebook using the text tool. Unfortunately there is no ability to rotate the text, and limited customization options.edit stock photos
  5. Finally, I drew a rectangle over the entire photo and chose the pencil brush to give it a different look.edit stock photos

Paint is an easy way to edit photos, and works for basic changes, additions, and text.

How to Customize Stock Photos in Microsoft Office Picture Manager

Microsoft Office Picture Manager is probably the most robust tool you are likely to already have installed, although it was discontinued with Microsoft Office versions later than 2007. If not you can get it here: . If you don’t have Microsoft Office at all, here is a nice tutorial on the steps needed to allow you to download the software:  The main drawback to Microsoft Office Picture Manager is that you still have to use another program to add text. I usually use PowerPoint, which I’ll explain later.

  1. Open the image you want to edit in Picture Manager. I’m going to use the same photo for editing as I did in Paint. I have my Stock_Photos folder saved as a shortcut, so I can easily locate my photos for editing. Alternatively you can open the folder where your picture is stored, right click and select which program you want to use to open the picture.edit stock photos
  2. Here are some of the edits you can make:
    • Brightness and Contrast – I lowered the brightness and increased the contrast. You can also have Picture Manager edit with auto brightness. edit stock photos
    • Color – I increased the hue amount and changed the hue, giving the entire picture a pinkish color: edit stock photos
    • Crop – I removed the small notebook and paintbrush from the picture: edit stock photos
    • Rotate and Flip – I decided to rotate the image 90 degrees and flip it vertically:edit stock photos
    • Finally, I selected Auto Correct to clean up the image:edit stock photos
  3. To add text I will need to use another program. My preference is PowerPoint when I’m creating images for my blog, which I will show you next. You can also use paint as I did earlier.

How to Edit Stock Photos in Microsoft PowerPoint

Microsoft PowerPoint is the main tool I use to edit stock photos, just because it’s a program I’m very comfortable with, and find easy to do most of what I want with my photos. I’ve edited most of the images on my blog using PowerPoint. However, I am starting to experiment with some of the online sites, and will write a post later on how to use those.

  1. Open the image you want to edit in PowerPoint by clicking on the Insert tab and then the Picture Button. I’m going to use the same photo for editing as I have previously.  edit stock photos
  2. To make edits, click on the picture and then click on the picture format tab on far right of the tabs. Here are some of the edits you can make:
    • Corrections – you have the option to soften the photo and edit the brightness and contrast. You can use one of the presets available, which is what I did, or you can click the picture corrections button and manually edit those features. edit stock photos
    • Color – PowerPoint gives you a lot of options for recoloring your photos. As with Corrections you can choose from the presets or open the picture color options and manually edit the colors. Here I increased the saturation and changed the temperature to cool. I could have added a color overlay in any of the presets, or really any color I choose using More Variations (For an example of a color overlay, see the photo in Monday Motivation : Why You Should Be Kind to Yourself). edit stock photos
    • Artistic Effects – There a many cool artistic affects you can apply to your pictures. There are numerous interesting presets, and as always the option to customize. I chose to use the plastic wrap effect. edit stock photos
    • Picture Styles – You can also choose from a variety of frames, borders, effects, and layouts for your photos. I chose the rotated, white from the preselects for the frames and then changed the color of the picture border to hot pink: edit stock photos
    • You can also rotate, flip, adjust the size, and crop the photo.
  3. Once I’m satisfied with how my photo looks, I add text to my photos. You do this by going to insert and selecting text box. You can then draw the text box whatever size you want, position it, rotate it, and change the format. I rotated my text box and changed the font color to hot pink in the Drawing Tools Format tab, which is in the same location as the Picture Tools Format Tab.edit stock photos
  4. Finally, I save my edits as a picture, so that I can use it on my blog. To do this, I select both my picture and my text, right click, and choose Group. I then right click again and choose Save as Picture.edit stock photos

My photo is then ready to be uploaded to my blog.

What are your favorite tools for editing photos? Is there an online tool that you recommend? I’ve been curious about trying Canva and I’d love to hear some opinions on it.


  1. Great post! I use Canva and I’m super happy with it. I used the free version for a few months and then switched to paid just so I can easily resize images. Highly recommend.

    1. Aurora James says:

      I’m glad you liked the post. I appreciate your comments about Canva. I think it’s time I experimented with it.

  2. Debra Palmer says:

    This was very informative! Thank you 🙂

    1. Aurora James says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful. I know Photoshop is the preferred tool, but you can edit photos without it.

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