How to Use PicMonkey to Kickstart Your Photo Editing Skills

PicMonkey-Main-Page

If you were disappointed when Piknik the free online photo editing site went offline and closed up shop in early spring of last year, you needn’t despair because one of the best free online photo editing sites has found a new life as PicMonkey. ( On their website, PicMonkey claims that former staff workers for Piknik moved to  PicMonkey and the others were absorbed into Google staff when they were  bought out by Google+.)

What is PicMonkey?  It is a free photo editing online software that offers many features to edit your photos and images, to create labels and tags to label your photos ,and now they have included additional  tools to create a host of assorted online photo collages.  Don’t be fooled by Picmonkey’s  simple interface and the fun and friendly conversational  instructions provided by the site  (the site’s software creators, who basically use a tongue in cheek approach when talking about their logo’s monkey) are providing real tools for the novice to skilled photo editor.  And what’s even better, it doesn’t require you to need to know all the photo editing lingo to get the result you want or have you suffer the hassle through the learning curve required by other photo editing software programs.

Basic Edits

photo editing, basic, picmonkey

Besides basic photo editing tools to crop, rotate, resize or improve the exposure, enhance or sharpen the color in your photos, the online site also allows you to create special effects on your photos in a one-click process or to adjust the effects with simple sliders to your liking.

Effects

You can see on the sidebar menu in the picture below the variety of popular effects or filters that PicMonkey offers.

photo editing, basic, effects menu

Touch Ups

In addition,Picmonkey offers you the ability to touch up the imperfections (pimples, wrinkles, red eye and other blemishes…Ouch!) on those pictures that you may need to improve upon.  You could stop there if you would like to,  so that you could upload your new creations or share your enhanced images on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or or other social media sites like Twitter but you don’t have to because Picmonkey has updated their software further to offer new tools.

photo editing, basic, picmonkey, touchups

Text and New Fonts

For example, something must be said for all the different fonts (or text)  that the photo editing site allows you to use, if you are into digital scrapbooking you probably all ready know how difficult it is to find free fonts for your use.   Picmonkey offers  several fonts from sans serif fonts to fancy decorative type fonts.  And the site seems to be adding and updating their fonts all the time in order to meet the design styles and choices of their subscribers.

Picmonkey-fonts-menu

Overlays

Picmonkey has also added new features such as a dark background when working with light photographs  (it helps in viewing your photos), Instagram photo frames with rounded corners, cool overlays that provide textures on your photos , and label  and shape overlays.

PicMonkey-Label-overlay-menu

Frames

Under the Frames menu, you can get that wonderful photo or images you have just edited and place them into a variety of frame selections to suit your taste.  As mentioned earlier, Picmonkey provides the option of creating an Instagram frame as well as many other types of frames and allows you to control the color, thickness, caption space  and drop shadows for your photo frame with slider controls.

PicMonkey-frames-menu

Textures

In addition, they have added Texture Overlay options for your photos in the event you want to add a little extra pizazz to your photo or image.  These type of layers give your photo a texture.  As you can see, as an example in the photo below, a textile weave texture has been added to the photo.  It was chosen only as an example, you can use whatever layer style you would prefer and add it in order to enhance your photo. (Note: The options marked with a small crown are Royale features).

PicMonkey-Textures-Menu

One of the most powerful features that they offer is the ability to merge all your photos together and flatten the image similar to a lot of  other paid and free photo imaging software programs that are available.  No, it does not have the sophisticated tools  and full photo editing control that are available by the two premiere photo editing software packages such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and Adobe Photoshop ( which are geared to graphic designers and photographers) , but it does a pretty good job with basic photo editing and additional image enhancing tasks.

Themes

The good thing is that the developers haven’t stopped there and seem to come up with additional tweaks to their software site all the time, they are now providing additional cool new fonts, craft type scissors edges (great for beginning digital scrapbookers) ribbons, banners and label overlays, texture overlays and  the ability to create photo collages from several pictures and seasonal themes.  (Since it’s approaching Valentine’s Day at the writing of this blog post, the theme available is “Sweethearts”)

Picmonkey-themes-menu

Their photo collages are a great feature because they offer a variety of choices to layout your photos for  a few to several pictures and they have interesting photo collage templates.  If you visit Pinterest often , I suspect this is the site many bloggers are using to create their beautiful  and fun photo layouts.

Furthermore, when you are getting started with digital scrapbooking,  it will take you time to acquire the photo editing skills just to create basic ribbons, labels, banners, paper scrap, pushpins and buttons and save them as .PNG files to apply to your projects.  If you weren’t thinking of  creating them yourself,  you might need to spend a small fortune to purchase these elements premade or you would have to spend a lot of time online just to find  free resources.  The software site makes these free labels and banners ( under the Overlay section and “scrapbooky” option) easy to apply to your photos or images making Picmonkey shine in this area as well .

All of these tools are free, but if you want access to additional tools, some of the more specialized effects and banners they offer a Royale package at  a monthly  fee of $4.99 or an annual fee of $33.00 (at the time of this writing) .  If you are interested,  but still want more of the technical information and comparisons between the top online photo editing tools that are available,  you might try this article, Online Photo Editing Review 2013 – Best Photo Editor Online.

So, if you are trying to boost your images or want to create interesting photo collages to share on your favorite social media site , try checking out Picmonkey for all their wonderful and easy to use features.

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