These days, the idea that you need to serve optimized images on your website or web app is non-negotiable. Images make up about 21% of a website's content, and without optimization, that can really slow down your loading times.

This doesn't just make for a less-than-stellar user experience: it makes Google hate your pages. And when Google hates your pages, it buries them. And when Google buries your pages...well, you may as well get off the internet, because no one is ever going to find you there.

The good news is, these days there are plenty of image editing API options available to help you format and optimize your images. You can use these APIs both to optimize the images you serve on your site or application, or to allow your users to do photo editing and modify their own images within your image editor application.

What Is An Image Editing API?

API stands for application programming interface. In simple terms, it is a piece of software that integrates with your code to perform a particular task. Technically, any code module or library can be considered an API, but in today's world, the term API usually refers to a hosted solution that exposes HTTP endpoints, secured by an API key, that you can access via a network request to do work for you.

Image editing API solutions allow you to integrate image editing functionality into your app while offloading the editing processes to a dedicated service that will likely do the work faster and better than anything you could code yourself. And unlike a library or package, an image editing API won't take up space in your app or increase your bundle size.

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Top Image Editing APIs

We put together a list of our top five favorite image-editing API solutions. On today's low-code and no-code-leaning world, these are some of the best options around for resizing, formatting, and editing images in your applications.

1. AbstractAPI Image Processing and Optimization API

AbstractAPI hosts APIs to help you with many of the tasks a modern application needs to perform. They have APIs for email and phone number validation, link shortening, geolocation, currency exchange, and more. Their image processing API is one of the most convenient APIs for basic image resizing and compression available.

The REST API exposes two separate endpoints: one for multipart form data upload and one for basic POST requests. The multipart form data endpoint allows you to upload an image file for processing, while the POST endpoint accepts a JSON object with a URL pointing to the image you want to process.

The API handles cropping, resizing, and compression. In order to compress an image using the API, all you need to do is send a request like the following:



fetch('https://images.abstractapi.com/v1/url/', {
 method: 'POST',
 headers: {
   Accept: 'application/json',
   'Content-Type': 'application/json'
 },
 body: JSON.stringify({
   api_key: “YOUR_API_KEY”,
   url: 'https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.abstractapi.com/test-images/dog.jpg',
   lossy: true
 })
});

The lossy option tells the API to use lossless compression to compress the image file without changing the size of the image. The API returns a JSON response like the following, with a URL that points to a hosted version of the new image.



{
   "original_size":205559,
   "original_height":430,
   "original_width":1142,
   "final_size":75101,
   "bytes_saved":130458,
   "final_height":430,
   "final_width":1142,
   "url":"https://abstractapi-images.s3.amazonaws.com/8f2dd6392c524bc98313a89a24012b1f_dog.jpg"
}

The API has a free tier that allows up to 100MB of uploading per month. From there, prices start at $9/month for 1GB, and up to $499/month for 250GB.

2. Imgur API

The Imgur API is not an image editing API - rather, it allows your app to do everything you can do on the Imgur app or website. That includes uploading images to Imgur, creating albums, leaving comments, and updating a user's Imgur account.

Imgur is a very popular photo-sharing app with a large online developer community. This is a nice benefit, as you can get help and have your questions answered quite quickly by one of the many developers using or maintaining the API.

The Imgur API is a RESTful API that accepts HTTP requests and returns either JSON or XML responses. To edit a photo using the API, you must first register your app with the API and receive a client code and client secret. You can then use these to make AJAX requests against the various endpoints. The Imgur API is completely free to use as long as you are not using it for commercial purposes.

There are official Imgur API libraries to help you integrate the API into your app, such as the Python library, from which the code below was taken.



def upload_image(client):
	'''
	Upload an image to Imgur
	'''

	config = {
		'album': None,
		'name':  'My Image',
		'title': 'Best Image',
		'description': 'The best image you have probably ever seen.'
	}

	print("Uploading image... ")
	image = client.upload_from_path(image_path, config=config, anon=False)
	print("Done")
	print()

	return image


3. Cutout.Pro API

The Cutout.Pro API offers several photo editing and image editing APIs to developers for a reasonable price. They use AI to drive many of their photo editor APIs, and they offer solutions for photo editing, image background removal, photo colorization, retouching, image enhancement, and more.

To use their APIs, sign up for an account (you can get a free account that will give you 5 free credits) and get an API key. Sending requests to the endpoint is simple. Here's an example of how to send a request to the image background removal API using Node.js:



var request = require('request');
  var fs = require('fs');

  request.post({
    url: 'https://www.cutout.pro/api/v1/matting?mattingType=6',
    formData: {
    file: fs.createReadStream('/path/to/file.jpg')
    },
    headers: {
    'APIKEY': 'YOUR_API_KEY'
    },
    encoding: null
  }, function(error, response, body) {
    // do something with the image
  });

Their pricing is based on a credit system: 1 credit costs $0.099 (about one cent.) For most of the APIs, a successful API call that returns a modified image costs 1 credit. You will only be charged for calls that do not result in an error.

4. Pixo

Pixo is a full-featured image editor that can be integrated into any photo editing website or application. It supports batch editing as well as templates, adding stickers & text, applying filters & frames, removing backgrounds, cropping, rotating, and more advanced features such as adjusting RGB, brightness, contrast, hue, and saturation.

Pixo has excellent documentation on how to integrate the API with React, Vue, iOS, and Angular. Pixo can be integrated as a library, or used as a REST API to edit images serverside. To send a request to the REST API, sign up for an API key and send a request with an image payload and a JSON object with the following options specified:



{

	apiKey: String,

	output: Object, // desired quality and format of output image

	filter: String, // choose from a list of available filters to apply to the image

	text: Array of Objects, // add text to the image

	stickers: Array of Objects, // choose from a set of stickers to add to the image

	crop: Object,

	rotate: Number, // degrees the image should be rotated

	flip: String, // horizontal or vertical flip

	adjust: Object, // make color adjustments to the image

	shape: String, // choose from a list of available shapes

	frame: Number, // choose from a numbered list of available frames

	background: Object, // change or remove the image background

}

The Pixo image editor API has three pricing tiers: small, medium and large. Small is $7/month and allows full access to the image editor and up to 1000 saved images. Medium is $9/month and allows up to 2500 saved images. Large is a bespoke option. Contact the company for pricing and features.

5. Pixelixe API

Pixelixe allows you to host, edit and deliver images quickly and efficiently on the cloud over a simple RESTful interface. The API endpoints are well-documented and offer solutions for image transformation and manipulation, adding Instagram filters and effects, cropping, flipping, rotating, and editing graphics and logos.

Pixelixe uses an API key to gate access to the endpoints. You can get a key by signing up for a free account. One API key gives you access to all the APIs and endpoints.

To resize an image using the API, simply send a GET request with a JSON object containing the image payload, your API key, and the specifications for image processing. There is a limit of 10MB on file size.



fetch('https://studio.pixelixe.com/api/resize/v1', {
 body: JSON.stringify({
   api_key: “YOUR_API_KEY”,
   imageUrl: 'https://s3.amazonaws.com/static.abstractapi.com/test-images/dog.jpg',
   width: 100,
   height: 100,
   imageType: 'jpeg'
 })
});

There is a free trial available that allows up to 50 uploads. Pricing for Pixelixe starts at $9/month for the basic features (no white label integration or access to the image automation or processing APIs.) For $249/month you get access to the full feature set, plus customer support.

Conclusion

Image editing APIs are ubiquitous these days. Whether you're building an image editor app or simply need to compress some image files to improve your app's loading time or the user's uploading experience, there is an API that can help you do it.

FAQs

How Can I Batch Edit Photos for Free?

Some image editing APIs have batch editing functionality. This is usually something that isn't available through the free tier, you may have to pay for a monthly subscription to get the batch editing features.

Once you have the correct API setup, you can upload batches of photos to the API endpoint, including a JSON object with specifications for how you want the photos processed. The API will return a response with links to the updated images.

What Is the Best Free Image Editor?

There are a number of free online photo editing solutions. Some of the best include YouCam, Snapseed, Pixo, Pixelixe, and PhotoDirector. In addition, there are many photo editor APIs that allow you to integrate image editing functionality into your own application. Some of these include AbstractAPI Image Processing and Optimization API, and the Cutout.Pro API.

What Is an Image Editing API?

API stands for "application programming interface." In simple terms, an API is a piece of software that integrates with your code to perform a particular task. In today's world, "API" usually refers to a hosted solution that exposes an HTTP endpoint that you can access via a network request

Image editing APIs let you integrate image editing functionality into your app without taking up space in your codebase or increasing your bundle size.

Try Abstract's free image resizing API today.

Get started for free
Try Abstract's free image resizing API today.
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