The coronavirus pandemic and social distancing changed the world as we knew it. Businesses feel a great burden during these times. Many stores are closed, so they have to rely on online sales. The ones that already relied on online sales have greater competition. Suddenly, there is a growing need to invest in visuals more than ever.

However, getting an entire team in a small studio is not the best idea at this time.

So if you can’t have real-life photoshoots but you have to do your marketing, what do you do? – You rely on alternative methods. Advertisers and social media managers can benefit from tools that help create appealing, professional GIFs and images.

The competition for attention is intense now. You have no other choice but to invest in the best social media tools that help you stand out. 

It’s no secret: better visuals will get you more attention. They will boost engagement across platforms. Who doesn’t want more shares, clicks, comments, and likes? 

It is possible to drive engagement with free images for social media. However, they have to meet the standards of uniqueness and relevance. It’s always better to use tools and apps to create images that are completely unique.

Analyze your social media performance

Let’s get to the main part. 

We’ll list the best apps for creating cool images and GIFs.

 

Placeit

With Placeit, you can put your logo or product in a realistic environment without organizing an entire photoshoot. Yeah; we all know that photoshoots can’t be replaced with automated tools. But while we’re dealing with the quarantine, we have to make the most out of the tools we’ve got.  

Placeit gives you templates that look like stock photos. However, they are a bit more sophisticated than the free social media images that everyone else uses. 

You also get a library of video slideshow templates. You can make them look like GIFs that showcase your brand. 

If you want to access thousands of mockups and use them without limitations, you’ll pay $14.95 per month or $99.95 per year. This will also give you access to videos, designs, and logos

Live Mockups

Many beginners aren’t ready to invest in Placeit. They still don’t have experience with mockups, so they would like to learn with a more affordable tool.  

Live Mockups is a great alternative. You can upload text and background images. You’ll easily create branded GIFs that way. You can experiment with different designs, and one of them may go viral.  

The mockup library gets updated each week. You won’t be stuck with the same, boring designs. 

This tool is especially useful for influencers, who have to take pictures from home at this time. Most of them can’t work with their professional photographers. Now they can learn a new skill and change their feeds a bit, thanks to this tool.

The best thing about Live Mockups is the Free Forever plan. You get one video per month and seven days of storage for it. You can upload up to 50MB of video. However, your designs will get the Live Mockups watermark. 

But there’s more good news: the Pro plan doesn’t come with a watermark, and it only costs $5 per month. 

The Pattern Library

The patterns from this site are intended for website design. However, they are perfect for quick photo designs. 

You’ll grab a pattern that you like, and you’ll use a social media photo editor to add more elements to it: people, text, or a complete photograph over the top. The background pattern will make your designs stand out.

When you find something that you like, you can download the design or capture a screenshot. 

You can use the patterns for free.

Emulsion

Let’s say you’re following a particular color scheme for your social media profiles. You’re publishing a green theme on Instagram. You’ll want all photos to fit into that scheme. By looking at the same patterns over and over again, your followers will start recognizing the brand. 

Emulsion will browse through your photos, and it will give you all available files that fit your plan. You’ll only choose the pictures that work best for your needs.

Emulsion is more than a simple photo organizer. It’s also a social media photo editor. You get beautiful filters with it! You can get out of the usual Instagram box by applying filters that aren’t commonly used. 

This might be the perfect tool to get you out of the creative block in quarantine times.

This is a Mac app, available as a one-time purchase of $49.99.

Typorama

Images and GIFs are great for conveying emotions and messages. But if you want to take them to the next level, adding relevant messages with beautiful typography is the way to go. 

Typorama lets you choose between 40+ styles from popular designers. You can choose any photo and add your text over it. Play with the overlays, filters, and tools for adjustment to customize that photo. 

Since you’ll customize the design, it’s okay to use free social media images. With the custom message, you’ll make them unique.

You have no idea what message to add? Yeah; that can happen during a lockdown when the highlight of the week is you making banana bread and getting sick of eating it warm. Check out this reading list that will trigger a content writing process.

Typorama is available as an app in the App Store. It’s free, but it comes with a watermark. If you want to remove it, you’ll need to pay a one-time fee of $4.99. It will cost you $5.99 to unlock all Typorama features. 

GIPHY

When we’re listing tools for making GIFs, we cannot skip GIPHY. It’s a standard tool that everybody is familiar with. 

It’s completely free, and it gives you plenty of material to work with. 

You can use some of the GIFs to make a point when mentioning your brand. But you can also create your own GIFs, which will trigger tons of shares. 

To create a GIF, you can combine multiple static images in a moving slideshow. You can also upload a video, or take one from YouTube. 

Infogr.am

Are you publishing data-driven posts on social media? That caption will be hard to read. To drive more attention to it, you need a graph. It will present the information in an easy-to-digest way.

Infogr.am gives you designer templates. You’ll add the data you got through research or surveys. Infogr.am will give you slides, maps, and charts for you. You’ll get an image that’s ready to share. You can bring the graph to life by making the objects slide, fade, flip, bounce, and zoom. You can even make the charts and maps interactive. Overall, it’s a good way to engage your viewers. 

The Basic plan is free forever. If you publish data-heavy posts on a regular basis, you might need more features. The Pro plan costs $19 per month. If you need to upload your brand kit and use it in the graphs, you can go for the Business plan ($67 per month). 

Analyze your social media performance

Sip

You’re looking for top free photo editing software for Mac? You can try Sip for 15 days free of charge.

It’s a great app that lets you organize photos by color. It’s used by Twitter, IBM, Dropbox, Netflix, Amazon, Pinterest, Disney, and other important brands. 

Sip helps you find the right tone from any image, YouTube video, or website. If you like a certain color, you’ll activate the app and choose that tone. 

Sip will create palettes based on your previous choices. 

CloudApp

This is a multi-purpose tool. It’s great for recording videos, taking screenshots, and creating unique GIFs. 

The app uses the same keyboard shortcut as a Mac computer. To take a screenshot, you’ll press Command + Shift + 5. But if you want to record the screen in HD or GIF format, you’ll use another shortcut: Command + Shift + 6. CloudApp can also record videos from your camera. To do that, press Command + Shift + 8. 

You can try the app for free as an individual user. If you want more features, the Pro plan will cost you $9 per month.  

Crello

When compared to the other tools we listed above, Crello gives you more control over the design. You can still use templates, but Crello inspires you to stop using stock photos or GIFs that we’ve seen hundreds of times before. It encourages you to create your own designs. 

Use Crello if you want to stand out!

With it, you can create animated graphics, ads, GIFs, and other types of posts. The designs are suitable for all social media platforms.

Easel.ly

Infographics are great for presenting factual data. You can create timelines, present statistics, or showcase different features of your products. These designs tend to grab the viewer’s attention and boost their engagement on social media.

Easel.ly is an awesome tool that lets you create fun infographics. It gives you plenty of icons, objects and shapes to use. You can upload your own visuals, too.

You won’t have any trouble creating an infographic through the drag-and-drop feature. When compared to Infogr.am, this one is much easier to use, so it’s more suitable for beginners. It’s more affordable, too.  The Pro plan costs only $4 per month. 

Photolemur 3

Social media platforms are flooded with poorly edited faces. There’s nothing wrong with photo editing, but it has to be done in a more professional way. 

You need a tool that will apply subtle changes. The faces must still look natural, even when you enhance some features (such as the lips or the eyes). 

Photolemur is one of the best tools for editing portraits. It works for any other kind of photograph, too. 

Are You Using the Right Tools for Making Visuals?

You see great images and GIFs on social media all the time. They inspire you to get better in your own designs, too. 

There are several tools you can use for that purpose. Some of them are too expensive, so you’re most likely to avoid them. 

We chose affordable, yet effective apps and tools for the list above. Are you already using some of them?