How To Edit Pictures With PicMonkey

By Sep 23, 2015 69 Comments

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Do you get overwhelmed at the thought of editing photos? I am a professional photographer and I had a near-crippling fear of photo editing years ago. With practice and some tips and tricks, I was able to learn the basics of photo editing pretty easily. I use Photoshop and Lightroom these days, but did you know that PicMonkey is easy to use and wonderful for blog photo editing?

I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to be a professional photographer to know how to edit pictures in a way that will make your post pop, and to create something interesting to look at on your blog.

Photo Editing Tips | Learn how to use PicMonkey to edit pictures for your blog the easy way!

How To Edit Pictures With PicMonkey

I own a few cameras – from a professional Canon, to a consumer-level Canon, to an iPhone camera. You can edit photos from ANY kind of camera to make them pop more – you don’t need an expensive dSLR. A point & shoot or smartphone camera will do fine. Here’s an example of a snapshot I took years ago:

Quick snapshot of a cute baby - you don't have to have a professional camera to take great pictures.

It’s a cute photo of my daughter, but it’s a bit flat and dull for my taste. The colors need to be brightened, and her eyes need to be sharpened. I went to PicMonkey and hit the “Edit” button, and then opened the photo.

PicMonkey is a great site for quick and easy photo editing.

I hit the Crop button first, and cut away the distracting right side of the image. Then I hit the Exposure button, and lightened my photo just a bit. Remember that proper exposure means that your subject looks as it does in real life. If it’s too washed out or too dark, it’s not properly exposed.

Then I went to the Colors button and made the photo black and white. I shoot both in color and black and white. Black and white photos are eye-catching and can stimulate emotion from the viewer of the photo, or reader of your blog.

Try making your photo black and white when you are editing. It will give the picture a whole new feel.

And yet many other photos, especially of children, do very well in color.

Black and White photography is beautiful, but sometimes you need to capture all the rich colors of the scene to really tell the story.

A very cool thing about PicMonkey is that if you don’t like a change you made, you can hit the back arrow and erase the change. There are quite a few basic edits you can make. Then if you hit the magic wand button, there are quite a few effects – like “Blemish Fix”, “Spray Tan”, “Eye Brighten” and more!

Here is my fun with Eye Brighten. Please note that some features and effects are for Royale customers, and aren’t free. These features have a small crown on them, and when you try them out on your photo, the Monkey will appear to let you know that you are previewing a paid feature.

You can brighten eyes and make other fun edits in PicMonkey.

You can also add text, overlays, frames, textures, and themes.

Add hearts or other fun shapes to your pictures with PicMonkey!

It’s a lot of fun choosing how to customize your photos and make them more interesting to your blog readers. Is the above photo perfect? Of course not! BUT…I took a photo that wasn’t memorable in the slightest and turned it into something memorable AND more interesting to look at.

Drab to fab took me less than five minutes!

How do YOU edit your photos?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links

About Tamara Bowman

Tamara is a professional photographer, a mama of two, a writer/blogger and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter and son in glorious western Massachusetts. She spends her spare time looking for moose, taking pictures of her kids, and maybe – just maybe – teaching them about photography. She can be found on Facebook @Tamara Camera Photography, Twitter @TamaraCamPhoto , Instagram @TamaraCameraPhoto , and Pinterest @Tamara Camera Photography & Blog and on her blog @Tamara Camera Blog.


  • I’ve never heard of these photo editing sites. I will have to check them out. I rarely edit photos, but I find that close up photos always look more impressive than far away shots. Cropping is my friend. And so is a fine arts/photography major who takes wedding pictures for a living and sometimes send me batches of photos related to my subject of raising girls.

  • Brianna says:

    I started using “ViewNX 2” that was recommended on the Nikon website when I went to research before buying my camera. It’s not the easiest to use but it certainly will get quite in depth for a completely free program!

  • Traci Lehman says:

    I love to take photos and edit them. To me editting is just as much fun and a creative process to boot. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  • Tugboat says:

    great post! Editing really does make pictures so much nicer!

  • Patty says:

    Yes I edit. But now I have fallen for pixlr.com
    Especially their vintage or retro looks check them out! So easy!

  • Julie says:

    Thanks for the heads-up on Aperture. I had wondered about that.

  • Miranda says:

    I always edit my photos. Especially since everything I do is food, nothing is ever photographed perfectly. I have been using Picasa, but I am switching over to Aperture (Mac).

  • Wow! I use Photoshop, but thats expensive. I had no idea there are other programs that do such a good job!

  • Julie says:

    How did I miss this. All the leads on editing programs will keep me busy for a month as I test them all. I use the iPhoto editing program because I don’t edit too heavily. I try to compose well before I shoot, but then might have to edit a bit for exposure or saturation. But I’m always up for things that give me more options. So I’ll check these out.

    • Miranda says:

      Julie, I just started a free trial of Aperture (Mac) and it is great so far. Check Apple online for the demos – if you want to get more serious than iPhoto and don’t mind spending money on it (about $80), it is a drop in the bucket compared to something like Lightroom – which is around $400. I am using the trial, although there are so many features, I may never use them all it is good to have some options!

  • Sarah says:

    I’d LOVE to have a really expensive camera too, but for now I use a Nikon Coolpix camera. As someone who takes pictures every day, I definitely think a so-so camera is definitely better than no camera! I use Picnik a lot too. It’s really helped add some more life to my pictures! 🙂

  • I use photoshop which I absolutely love & become a mad scientist with! Those filters in this post remind me of the ones on Instagram which I use w/ pics I take on my iPhone that I too can get pretty crazy with. Bottom line is yes it’s important to edit the pics. I mean, look what you were able to do w/ just a simple pic of a school bus!

  • Huge Lo♥er of LightRoom!!! Hubby is a photographer and uses it for photo edits.

  • Kristin_OPC says:

    I love me some Picnik and recently bought a subscription – because I was tired of the premium fonts taunting me.

  • Tried PicMonkey thanks to you and LOVE the eye-bright feature! That one thing alone is enough to keep me using it. Thanks for a great suggestion!

  • Fantastic suggestions. I’m a super light editor who has fallen in love with presets for when I want to have fun with photography. I use Lightroom, but I also have a great “preset” style program that I play with along with the presets that I’ve downloaded for LR. I’ve thought about learning more about editing, but I think it’s just as important for us to find our photography style and mine is “natural light” and “light editing” and I’m good with that.

    I’m looking forward to using the tips you’ve shared!

  • Trish says:

    I do edit my photos. I use picasa and do simple things that take 5 minutes like picnik. I really like the “I feel lucky” option and I do a lot of cropping.

  • Lisa says:

    Absolutely, I edit my pics all the time. Crop, retouch. I simply use the tools on picassa. Free and cheap. Btw I use a little cannon point and shoot camera too. Some day, when I grow up, I hope to have an SLR camera, but until then I have to pay for braces, and insurance and food for my kids.

  • Luci says:

    Picnik and Pixelmaker (thanks @Kat, and @when pigs fly!) I’ll keep these in mind. I usually just use iPhoto which comes with the Mac. It seems to be very limited though.

  • Dumb Mom says:

    I ALWAYS edit my photos. Especially the ones of other people. It’s my gift to them:)

  • jewel says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m an Irfanview girl most of the time, but find Windows Picture Manager better for its “autocorrect” . It is quicker when I want to print out a small copy of a picture – which my son often wants. I wish I had photoshop sometimes, to make photos more interesting or pretty them up.

  • Whenever I can lure him into it, my husband edits mine. He does a nice job, and he’s getting better all the time! Come look at my hummus picture: not bad, I think. What do YOU think?

  • Carolyn says:

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Piknik, I’ve got to check it out. Thanks for the tips.

  • Great tips! The picture looks completely different, so the editing was well worth it! I use Picasa or Picnik to edit my blog photos, usually.

  • Jamie says:

    I also use Picnik, since it’s free and it’s a great program. Because Photoshop was so overwhelming to me, I went a different route and started using Lightroom. There is a 30 day free trial to check it out. I think it’s so much easier for someone who’s just starting out. Now that I’m learning more about Photoshop, I’m more comfortable and am back to using it more. I still LOVE Lightroom. 🙂

  • Sara Strand says:

    I’m so late to the Picnic bandwagon.. In eed to just get on it instead of being dragged behind. 🙁 But I have a question- can you save these images and have them printed (with all of the changes/tweeking) at say.. Walgreens? Because that’s part of my problem. I don’t want to spend time tweeking pictures if I can’t print them like that as well.

    • Jamie says:

      You can save your Picnik edited picture to your computer. Then you can upload them to the Walgreens website for printing. 🙂

  • Sourire11 says:

    Yup. I use Photoshop elements and the Pioneer Woman filters. Super easy to get really nice results. Sometimes it’s amazing the difference just cropping can make!

  • Bits of Bee says:

    I love these tips – I’m definitely going to try this. Next on my list is to figure out how to format pictures so that I can post multiple photos on my blogger site. I have a tough time placing them on the page properly. Any tips on how I can plug my pics into a template to fancy up the layout a bit (ie like a mosaic)? Thanks for sharing!

  • YUMMommy says:

    I will now. I’ve started doing some experimenting will Picasa and Picnik and like it.

  • Candi says:

    I have been trying to figure this out. Thanks for the demonstration. I really needed it.

  • Okay, I admit it. I cringe at over processed pics that were boring to start with and the “photographer” thought would become cool with a buttload of actions. BUT!! If you’re doing it for giggles and just having fun, pssh. Who am I to argue?

    Yes, I am a photographer and yes, I do edit my photos. But I also create a lot of crap (*ahem* too many pics of my cats) so I aim to refrain from passing judgment. The only time I actually care is when these same boring, poorly composed, and over processed shots are passed off as pro and the person thinks they can turn it into a business. Uhh, no. So I’m a bit of a snob…sue me. =) Actually, don’t. I’m poor.

    • Kat says:

      A very good friend of mine is a professional photographer and I swear she just sees things that I don’t. She sees ‘blue’ in black and white photos and when we’ve looked at pictures before she’ll cringe while I do a “Oh THAT’S pretty!!” Haha! It’s so different when you have that professional eye for photography! Probably a blessing AND a curse!

  • I’ve been playing with Photobucket a lot lately, but the site locks up and gives me issues all the time. It can very slow. I’ll have to check out some of the other stuff mentioned.

  • Super great tutorial! I love that you show the before and after….. Big difference.

  • Marie Cole says:

    I bet my Mac has those capabilities…I usually just edit the shot I take beforehand not afterwards…What a concept to do it afterwards, duh. 😉

  • Angelia Sims says:

    Love Picnik! It’s so easy. I used it exclusively until I learned photoshop. Now, I go back and forth. Sometimes photo editing is never-ending. It’s hard to know when you are done. Lol. Great job on the bus. :-))

    • Kat says:

      Thanks! And yes, it can be hard because there are SO many things you can do with photos now! I love Photoshop, but it’s installed on my ‘slow’ computer so I don’t use it as often as I’d like. 🙁

  • Life As Wife says:

    Picnik and photobucket are my go to’s for photo editing! Cropping goes a long way!

  • Dana K says:

    Great post! I love Picnik. I also have GIMP & Inkscape for photo & vector image editing. They are free/open source applications. Picnik is easier and immediately makes you look like you know what to do with a camera.

  • I edit mine with my Mac’s iPhoto program.

    Umm…when I have the time.

    Which is practically never.

    Looks like I need to make the time, huh?

  • Julie says:

    I usually edit in picnik too! I love it. There is another online freebie to that you can use that has some great effects http://www.aviary.com Also if you want to get real technical like photoshop there is a downloadable free program called gimp. I haven’t figured that all out yet. It’s very technical. But I do want to learn.

  • I LOVE Picnik! I especially love making photo collages on there. I haven’t tried to edit a lot of individual pictures on there by playing with the crop & lighting. NOW I have to!

    • Kat says:

      I use it for collages every time I write up a Featured Blogger post on SITS. It’s so easy! And yes, you definitely need to use those other elements…sometimes I’ll make the collage and then click on the enhancements when it’s complete. Then it fixes all of the pictures at once. 🙂

  • Thanks! I use Pixelmator which only works with Mac but is really good. It’s not very expensive and a great alternative to Photoshop for the money. I think we all forget about making our photos more interesting.

  • Queen Mum says:

    I edit when I need to crop a shot. I use the program that came with my laptop. I will look into Picnik….thanks!

  • TC Avey says:

    Awesome, thanks!

  • I do, but normally to make the image smaller in size (to speed up loading time), auto adjust the color and make the image sharper. I use Irfanview to do it.

    • Kat says:

      It’s great for resizing huge images! I use it for that when I post on SITS and am working with images that aren’t always mine.

  • SaucyB says:

    I do edit my photos. I use a free software download call Photoscape. It has a lot of the same effects you showcased. It’s funny, like you, I also use its clone feature to blot out personal information.

  • I don’t do much, but m going to work on it.

  • Thanks for this tip! I’ll definitely check it out as well as Photoscape!

    Maria xx

  • Julie says:

    I always edit my photos, well if they do need editing. I use a free software called Paint.NET. I love it!

  • I always mean to do this and have the tools to do it but rarely get round to it! I do crop my photos in windows Live Writer but not much else.

    Although I do love using Instagram and the different effects it creates, thanks for the encourgement to give more processing a try.

    • Kat says:

      Does Windows Live Writer also have an auto color adjustment? At the very least you should try something like that. Too often our photos look so faded online!

  • Modern Gypsy says:

    I generally use Photoshop, but I am looking around for something simpler, and free! So, I’m going to check out PhotoScape – thanks for the tip!

    • Kat says:

      I use Photoshop if I’m taking the picture more seriously…it just takes so long for me!

    • Miranda says:

      Picasa (by Google) is free and it is a great editing tool. Although I just started using the free trial for Aperture (Mac) because I want to take my food photography editing more seriously.

  • I always edit my photos – I use PhotoScape, a free-to-download tool for PCs, and I love it! It has all the tools you describe including crop, frame, filters, clean-up tools like removing red eye, clear skin noise reduction and I love that I can make collages as well. It’s awesome.