As a side job I occaisionally take photos for people - mostly senior photos or family photos, and a couple of wedding receptions. I used to do all my photo editing with Photoshop Elements - because I'm too cheap to spend $500 on the real Photoshop and because Elements is like the "For Dummies" version of Photoshop and has basic editing on it. I do everything from basic edits to brighten/saturate/white balance, to more time consuming beautify steps like teeth whitening, skin touchs up, eye brightening, etc. And all those steps can be a little time consuming....so I've been keeping my eyes open for something a little quicker to use that wasn't super expensive and hard to learn and didn't take me a gazillion steps and layers to get the looks I wanted.
And then one day....I tried PicMonkey and the clouds parted and rainbows filled the sky and butterflies danced and unicorns frolicked while I ran through
It's an awesome photo editing program because:
1) It's free!
2) It's super easy
3) Its super quick for touch ups
4) Its super intuitive to use
5) It has super cool effects
In a nutshell, it is super duper.
(And I am SUPER dorky, ha ha, but I'm really jazzed about how awesome and easy this program is. And did I mention its free?) And because I'm so excited, I just need to share - so I thought I would do a whole series of posts about how I use PicMonkey to edit the photos - in case you were looking for a cool photo program, or intidimated when it comes to photo editing. :)
Four quick ways to use PicMonkey to snazz up a simple dog photo and make it all sepia-ish and lovely.
Our lovely model Bailey - photo straight out of the camera, no flash.
|Bailey, my aunts dog, in Idaho Falls|
First I cropped it - keeping the "Rule of Thirds" (golden ratio) in mind.
Option 1 - Subtle improvements.
So then I used the color saturation and bumped it up a tiny amount (4). (On all my photos I usually up the color saturation, contrast, brightness and highlights a bit - just to make them pop more. But for this one I just did the color saturation)
And then I went to "Touch Up" tool, and used the eye brighten feature and I used it on her eye, and her nose. You just click where you want it to brighten - voila!
|Looks more Straight Out of the Camera/Natural - what I like usually.|
Option 2 - Adding lightness and soft glow using "Orton" effect
|This is probably my favorite one - very natural, but soft.|
Option 3 - Adding more light and softness using "Dusk" effect
I used the "Dusk" effect at full strength = 0%*. But then it was really dark (the small pic on the left, blech!) so then I went into exposure and increased the Highlights (to 30), Shadows (5) and Contrast (6). I just played around until it looked brighter and right to me. :)
*The scale is the only weird thing about PicMonkey that I don't quite get. Why is full strength 0%, shouldn't it be 100%? Maybe 0% means 0% of the the original photo/un-effected photo is visible, and at 100% it means 100% of original photo is showing....? Someone want to explain this to me?
|Ok, maybe this is my favorite.|
Option 4 - More fancy pants/angelic ol' timey style
I used "Orton" again, set to 49%. (You're probably thinking again with the Orton?! But its soooo purty and I like how it makes things richer and brighter!)
Then I used "Cross Process" set to 67%...no real rhyme or reason for that number, just because that's what looked good to me.
As you work on photos I think you just have to play around a bit and find what looks nice. You can't necessarily apply the same scales and layers and have it look perfect with every photo. Plus, that's half the fun - stumbling across new styles!
|A more stylized photo|
So those are just four quick actions I like - there's lots more you can do! (I also use it write text on my photos and for graphics like I did in this post)
Next round I'll show you how I use PicMonkey to beautify photos of people - from teeth whitening, blemish fixing, etc - and more favorite effects of mine to really snazz up landscapes and more pet photos!
*Please note I do not work for PicMonkey, nor am I paid to endorse them. I'm just a nerd who loves getting artsy fartsy with photos and spreading the fun.*