Emo Photo Effects

Updated July 20, 2017

As a result of the ever-expanding presence of social-media websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Tumblr, emo photography styles have become as recognisable as the black nail polish, tight clothing and sweeping fringe of the image subjects. You can tap into this trend and give your photos an emo look by using effects from free photography software and image-editing websites.

Black & White

Nothing conveys the melancholy of emo culture like a black and white photo. This emo photo effect can be achieved by applying a black and white filter or decreasing the image's saturation. You can heighten the result by tuning the photo's contrast level. Create high contrast by brightening highlights and darkening shadows to give your image a moody, dramatic feel. Picasa photo-editing software, which is a free download from Google, allows users to easily create this emo effect.

Colour Play

Go a step beyond status updates and use your profile image to convey your mood; after all, emo is slang for emotional. Using your favourite photo-editing program, add an emo photo effect like colour tint, and let the world know how you feel. Tint your photo red if you are angry, green if you are envious or blue if you are calm. If you feel especially emotional, use Picnik's Duo Tone effect and apply a two-color tint.


Think of stickers on images as tattoos on someone who is emo. Use Picnik to create this photo effect and access sticker designs under its "Create" tab. You can add image stickers from categories including Animals, Smilies, Loosey Design, Symbols, Solar System and Mediaeval. Adjust the size, position, colour and fade of the sticker using the Sticker Properties box. Also, you can flip and rotate the sticker or alter advance blend modes using a drop down menu.

Photo Frames

If you do not want to add an emo photo effect that alters your image's original integrity by adjusting colour or contrast, then apply a photo frame. Imikimi offers a wide selection of photo frames that can add an emo effect to any image. Some frames are animated, some feature quotes and others feature graphics like skulls and bleeding hearts. Once you register to create a free Imikimi account, you can select your desired emo photo frame, upload your photo to the frame and share your creation with friends.

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About the Author

Kimberly Back is a freelance writer and the editor of Stage of Life's "Having a Baby" section. She has written feature articles for the "Corbin Times-Tribune" newspaper, online articles for Omnigital and WAHM, as well as original quizzes for Pangea Media. Back has a bachelor's degree in sociology with a criminology concentration.