Bootstrap your Startup. Part 2 – Don’t buy Photoshop.

In Part 2 of this ‘Bootstrap your Startup’ money saving series of posts for your startup we are looking at graphic editing and storage options.

There’s a ton of savings to be made if you know where to look online and avoid the more ‘obvious’ choices that most folks might make. So let’s delve in and see where we can cut costs but not corners when it comes to your startup’s graphical software.

Gimp – Image manipulation software 

No, I’m not calling you silly names, Gimp is a free to download image manipulation programme. Many people have likened it to the more famous Photoshop package but the issue with the comparison is Photoshop comes in a wide range of guises.

Image: Gimp for Windows screenshot from Image: Gimp for Windows screenshot from

Gimp is essentially a lite version of Photoshop, much like Photoshop Elements. This will allow you enough editing for basic use but minus the $100 price tag, handy in a bootstrapped startup. I’d recommend this if you are for example editing images for a blog post. Therefore you can crop, trim, adjust the light balance and a few other functions that will improve the image but nothing too advanced.

In my experience it’s proved most useful as a tool to crop and layer an image then save it for ‘web’ use as a smaller file than a full hi res image. If you’ve ever used any version of Photoshop then you will feel at home with the interface. It has the trademark floating menu boxes to the right and left to quickly select the appropriate function.

Read Next:   The Helpful Tax Guide for Your Startup Business

Cost: Free


As with Gimp above, Paint.NET provides a host of features in a free to download programme. You can manipulate images, add text, edit colours and apply layers to your hearts content.

The interface resembles the Paint programme that comes preloaded will all versions of Windows but has way more features. This is a great bit of software for beginner and intermediate level users but wouldn’t quite cut it for an advanced user. It really depends on the demands of your startup but for most Paint.NET will more than suffice.

This software is currently available for Windows only and will work with 7 SP or newer, yes even Windows 10.

Cost: Free


Canva – Image creation tool

Canva is a relative newcomer to the market when it comes to image manipulation but is growing its user base rapidly. It’s easy to see why if you jump in and start using it. Essentially an image layering tool rather than an editing suite, the interface is incredibly user friendly and it provides a very smooth experience considering it runs in browser.

Canva is really useful in producing marketing materials and eye catching images for blog posts and social media. You can upload your own base image or choose from the thousands available in the left hand menu by typing your subject into the search box.

Once you have a base image or colour you can add pretty much whatever you like on top. There are some popular inspiring quote style images already set and you just edit the text. I’m sure of you’ve used Facebook anytime in the past 2 years you will have seen the type of thing as per below.

Read Next:   5 Tips Every Tech Startup Needs to Know to Grow & Scale Like Crazy
bootstrap your startup
Image: Easily made by me at

There’s a great selection of templates to choose from, for example the one above is called ‘social media’ and is formatted at 800 x 800 pixels to perfectly fit most blog posts or any Facebook wall.

You can create Facebook and Twitter covers, eBook images, flyers, posters, invites, business cards, the list goes on. This is a pretty neat site to use if you want to quickly churn out some professional looking graphical content for your startup.

Cost: Free (Business account optional)


Inkscape – Vector graphics package

If you’re looking for a vector graphics editor equivalent to Adobe Illustrator or Corel Xara but without the outlay then Inkscape is just the job. There are versions for Mac, Windows and Linux with regular updates provided.

Being open source means there is a great community of developers, designers and supporters behind the project to constantly offer advice and help users. The site also features a gallery of users drawings and designs to really show off what’s possible when using Inkscape.

I’d recommend this for startups that need to produce some bits of detailed graphical design. There are plenty of user generated tutorials available to get you going if you are a complete novice like me.

Cost: Free (open source)

Download from:

Picasa – Image editing software  

If you have a startup where you will be dealing with a lot of images Picasa might just be able to help you out. It’s an image organiser and editor you download onto your device and it works with your folders to help arrange your images. It’s now by Google but first evolved as a startup image programme.

Read Next:   Big List of SaaS Startups in Turkey
Image: Picasa screenshot by
Image: Picasa screenshot by

Through Picasa you can also add effect edits to your images but the primary function of the software isn’t really image editing as such. Still it does come in really handy if you’ve a library of photos you want to get organised and timed down to size ready to upload to your blog or various social media.

For now you can also use Picasa Web Albums if you want to upload your images to the cloud. However many tech bloggers concur that this will soon be integrated with the new Google Photos service. These both hinge on you having or creating a Google account.

I’d recommend Picasa if you are already in the Google-sphere and need to get your images in order.

Cost: Free (possible charge for premium storage)


I hope that has given you a few ideas about image editing and storage for your startup. As you can see you can spend very little if anything at all and produce some great quality images, edits and projects.

Next time in Part 3 of this startup cost saving series we will look at how to get your hands on some hardware for next to nothing. Stay tuned.

Leave a Comment