How to Put Text on Photos

Up until recently, you needed to be a graphic designer or have access to high end, quality graphic design programs to be able to put good-looking text on photos. This was time-consuming and expensive.

Please note, the feature image of the lemons is a stock image and has not been created using any of the options I describe below. For many examples of the text on photo images I have created (using Word Swag) go to the Monday Motivation page here.

Let’s take a look at how it used to be.

That was then

For the novice:

  • Microsoft Office – Use Word Art or Text Editor
  • Mac Preview – Use Edit Text Tool

For the graphic designer:

  • Serif DrawPlus
  • Corel Draw
  • Adobe Photoshop

The novice options listed above certainly worked but were clumsy to use, had limiting font options and really just didn’t look that great.

computer graphic design softwareThe programs listed above for the graphic designer requires training and support to navigate them. Well, I certainly did for them. They are very powerful and you can learn to do incredible effects with your photos however I’m personally not interested in spending hours to learn how to put good-looking text on photos. My focus is on blogging and writing. I’ll leave the advanced graphic design skills to skilled graphic designers. However, I am delighted that there are now options available there for someone like me where you can get good looking results with little effort and very low cost.

Although it was possible for the novice graphic designer (someone like me) previously the options were limited and therefore reflected limiting results, as I’ve already mentioned.

This is now

Now jump forward to 2015ish and on, now 2018, there is any number of online software and apps to choose from. With both free and low-cost options. Plus they are super simple to use, particularly the mobile app options. In just a few clicks you can have great looking fonts on your photos in a matter of minutes ready for you to use on your website, blog, email newsletters or social media.

  • PicMonkey has a 7-day free trial offer
  • Canva has a Free Online Photo Editor
  • iphone app text2pic is available free
  • Text to Photo Android app
  • PhotoWizard
  • Word Swag you can add text to your own photos or use the free photos available within the app. This has a low once off cost (under $10).

Here is a video showing how to put text on photos using Word Swag (my preferred choice). Click on this image to view:

word swag app add text to photos


This list above is a short list based on personal experience and a Google search enquiry. Ultimately what you decide to use yourself is based on your personal preference. My personal choice is Word Swag because:

  • I find it easy to use,
  • it is low cost,
  • it provides a small library of free photos you have copyright to use,
  • has a large number of quality font designs and
  • is an app so it is easy to use when you’re out and about. This latter feature is great for when you have that ‘Instagram moment’ and want to add a quick comment or quote before sharing to the world.

Therefore, before you start looking write down the top 5 needs you have so that you can compare each option with your top criteria. This will make your search quicker and much more successful.

text on photo mobile appBut because there are so many options out there I encourage you to share what software or mobile apps you have used successfully below in the comments. That way all those ready this post can have access to a wide variety of options to assist them to choose a product right for them and their specific needs.

Please share your experiences: How have you successfully put text on photos?

12 Replies to “How to Put Text on Photos”

  1. My son just had an school project that required several pictures that had to be individually labeled.  I sure wish I knew then what I know now!  I really appreciate the easy to understand explanation of the different programs used for writing on photographs.  I want to try that PicMonkey and see how it is.

    Thank you for your comprehensive article… I would have been doing this the hard way if it wasn’t for you.  Thanks again…


    1. Clay I’m delighted to hear you found this helpful. Yes I did this kind of research back in 2016 and was very frustrated I couldn’t find many recommendations back then. Do check it out and come back and let us all know what you decided on.

  2. Wow, there are a lot of options, indeed. The only one I’ve tried so far is Canva and I really love it. Not only because it’s free and it has a lot images, but also because it’s online, so everything gets saved automatically. I’ll check out the rest of it, too. Thank you very much for the ideas. 

    1. Yes I use Canva occasionally too but the layout for some reason doesn’t sync with the way my brain works as much as Word Swag. But we are all different so having a range of options is great. Thanks for sharing, I may go back to using Canva when I’m on my computer at home but I just love the flexibility and ease of using Word Swag when I’m out and about and wanting to post up on Instagram instantly!

  3. I use photoshop all the time at work, but because  I don’t have the program at home, I’ve been stuck looking for a good and preferably free app to work with my photos and put words on them. The photo of the lemon on your site, is that one that you did using Word Swag? It looks really good and may be just the app/tool that I need to be able to work photo magic on my photos while I am at home working. As a reporter/photographer, I take hundreds of photos a week. Most of them are not so great, but a few of them I really like and want to use on my personal websites. It would appear that Word Swag will give me what I need to work with my images. I actually use my iPhone to take a lot of photos, so I am going to explore text2pic, as well! Photoshop will probably always be the go to app at work, but for home, I am going to try out your suggestions.

    1. That is a great question Karin and thanks for asking – the lemon photo is just a stock image. I’ll keep that as an example but I’ll include an image that I have actually added the text – good point! To see examples of images I’ve created using Word Swag check out our Monday Motivations page here: all these images have had text added using Word Swag.

      Yes agreed for a professional such as yourself, Photoshop will always be the go to but for out and about Word Swag maybe the low cost, flexible option.

  4. Hello Fleur, i am happy that i pass by your website and find such an interesting post. I have been asking myself how to put a text on a photo. I found it magic and thought it is not for me only for designers. After reading this post and watch that video i got idea and it was interesting.

    You are playing a great role in teaching people like me helpful lessons to make my online business successful

    Thank you

    1. Thanks so much Julienne, I am thrilled to hear this post has got you thinking of an interesting idea that is fabulous! Yes I try to share what is relevant and helpful to succeed in an online, blogging business. I have found Word Swag has transformed the way my blog and social media posts look – for the better and with little time, cost and effort = win/win/win!

  5. You are quickly becoming one of my go-to pages in all things blogging. 

    I’ll have to go through all your suggestions to see which one works best for me. I’m still searching for the perfect option. 

    I’ve tried Word Art and Canva, also tried Photoshop, but that was way above my skills. I’m in awe of people who have great Photoshop skills. Maybe something for the future. 

    I might trust your suggestion and look into Word Swag, that way I won’t have to worry about where to get a great image from. I’m still trying to get used to the whole instagram moment thing as you described it, so an app like this one might help a lot. 

    Thanks for sharing. 

    1. I’m delighted to hear you’re receiving so much value from what I share here, that is absolutely what it is all about – thank you for saying so.

      Yes I too am in awe of those with great Photoshop skills but I also know I don’t need to be an expert in everything, nor is there enough time in the day. Yes do write down what you are needing and then go through the list here of suggestions and compare if they are giving you what you are seeking. I began using Word Swag back in 2016 and have loved using it every day since. Do let me know what you decide to go with.

  6. I enjoyed this article. 

    I perosnally use a free app from the Google Play store, I dont remember the name right off the bat, but my S6 also has some great built in text to photo features as well.

    I did go to college for graphic design, and you are correct in saying the programs are very powerful for sure! 

    At the Art Institute we used the Adobe Creative Cloud, and Photoshop was perfect for that, but when it came to designing Illustrator was the best! You can upload a picture into Illlustrator and do some amazing things with it including adding text! 

    Illustrator is vector versus Photoshops pixel base format. Which means that you can change the size in Illustrator and not loose quality, in Photoshop you loose quality when going larger or smaller. 

    Also in InDesign which is a powerhouse of a program, you could add text to a photo, but that took some work because you had to add a layer over the image, which meant it wasn’t changed in the orginal program you designed it in, just in InDesign. 

    Learning the programs was time consuming, but I wouldn’t change a thing! I am very glad I obtained my associates degree, it kind of helped push me into becoming a blogger. 

    Even though I did not excell in Dreamweaver, the website building program, I am excelling here, using Word Press is totally different! I don’t have to pay much attention to the html or css codes and that is a huge relief!!

    I am not sure what all these new programs will do to the designer that has spent a lot of time and money on school, as the novice designer can make just as outstanding designs on the newer apps that are coming out all the time. 

    I have not tried to add any text to my photos on my website just yet, but when I do I may just try Word Swag, it sounds easy to use and I like to play around with things from time to time. 

    Thank you for the great read!

    1. Thanks Stacie so much for sharing your experiences as a trained graphic designer. I’m going to add in Illustrator and InDesign to my lists in this post based on your comment, thank you.

      Although there are many options for the novice graphic designer and start up blogger I know my skills are limited in terms of creating innovative designs. I have worked with some incredibly talented designers over the past 10 years and the tools you and they use are only just one aspect of being a great graphic designer.

      Therefore, I still very much value using good graphic designers for bigger jobs but they may like to get into teaching novices or start-ups more and then attract bigger jobs when these same novices and start up bloggers achieve their revenue goals and begin to outsource tasks to run their businesses. Food for thought.

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