You spent a few hours taking a bunch of lovely pictures and you uploaded them to you computer. Now what do you do? You have two options.

1. Leave them alone.
2. Edit them.

I have to admit I probably only edit 10% of the personal pictures that I take. The only ones I take the time to edit are the ones I use for a blog post or the images I know I want to get printed. When it comes to my clients, all of their images are edited.

There are a ton of editing programs out there:  Lightroom {my personal favorite}, Photoshop Elements, and the grand daddy of them all, Photoshop Creative Suite. All of these are great programs but come with a price. Also, not everyone needs the functions that these programs have.

Thankfully, there are some great, free online programs, iPiccy and PicMonkey {to name a few}. For this week’s challenge, I will be focusing on PicMonkey.

PicMonkey came out right when everyone was mourning the loss of Picnik. It has a lot of the same features of Picnik and is very user friendly.

Let’s take a look at what it can do.

The picture on the left is SOOC {straight out of camera}, underexposed. In the Exposure menu, I upped the brightness, increased the contrast, and bumped the shadows a bit. Much better, right? Three simple little steps that helped my picture go from something that I might trash to something that my client would love.

Next, I decided to play around with the color a bit. The picture was a little green for my taste. I love warm pictures so I wanted to bring that out some more. I warmed the picture up by playing with the temperature slide in the Color menu.

Now we’re talking!

Just like Lightroom has Presets and Photoshop Elements has Actions, PicMonkey has similar features. {Presets and Actions are predetermined editing formulas.} Below are a few of my favorite ones!

A lot of times, I will have clients ask if I do any airbrushing or can I take a “boo-boo” out of a picture. Of course, these are things that I do when looking through their images. But you don’t have to have Photoshop to do this! PicMonkey has a whole menu dedicated to touch ups. What is great about these features is that there is a brush tool that you use to only fix the area of the image that needs a little help. This helps you from going over board and over editing your picture.

In the above after picture, I  did the following:

  • added a little color to her cheeks with the Blush boost
  • brightened her eyes just a tad and boosted the eyelashes with the mascara wand {here is where you need to restrain yourself or else the eyes will look artificial}
  • used the Wrinkle Remover to remove the redness and crumbs on her chin
  •  whitened her teeth

I adjusted the strength on all of the features to my liking!

Now that you have your picture just the way you want, you can great creative! Add some text or a border. How about a sticker?

The possibilities are endless!

Finally, one of my new favorite things to do to a picture is to add a little texture.

This week’s challenge is to take your photographs to the next level. Play around with PicMonkey {or your preferred editing program}. Take the extra step to really make your image pop. But, remember, less is more! Be creative but don’t go overboard. Want to share your before and after pics? Pop them into Picaboo and put them on two sides of a book like this. (This is a picture of the top two favorite cloud photos from last week.)

Have you missed a photography tutorial. Don’t worry! Just access our Photography Tutorial Library and you’ll catch up in no time! Each article is created to help you learn the techniques required to take better, clearer, more focused photographs.

***

Ready to turn your digital images into photo books, calendars and more? Click here to see our weekly specials!