We've all been there before... you take tons of snapshots at your family gatherings and events, or maybe you snapped a perfect picture of your little one in their First Day of School outfit. But then, you upload the photo to your computer, and it just looks lackluster. How do professionals make their photos look so darn good?
Any pro photographer will tell you that there are 3 basic edits that every photo needs, no matter how well it was taken.
Let's Get Editing!
,Our first step is to direct your browser to www.picmonkey.com
Picmonkey works with most browsers, but my tutorial will be using Google Chrome. This should not change what the pages look like, but I prefer Chrome for editing since it is a fast responsive browser.
At the top of the page you should see a menu (if it does not show up right away, hover your mouse near the top of the page). You will see Edit, Touch Up, Design and Collage. For today we will be clicking Edit. Once you click Edit, a dialog box will pop up to let you select the photo you would like to edit.
1. Crop it Up!
When your image loads, you will normally begin in the top section, called Basic Edits. Look for the first menu called Crop, and click it. The menu will expand and you'll see the crop options appear. You will also see a clear box appear over your photo. We will move this around to adjust how much we want to crop the photo. Everything outside the box will be removed.
If you click down the drop-down menu under Crop, you will see a few different options for different shapes and ratios for your image. We are going to keep the ratio the same, so select Original Proportions.
Now we will move the crop box around the photo until we are happy with the placement. You can drag the corners to resize the cropping area, or simply move the box around. The crop box includes two vertical and two horizontal lines that divide the image into thirds. This helps you keep the image balanced and centered. I've outlined and marked the outer edge of the box and the guide lines in this photo to help you see them better. As you can see, for my photo I decided to center the subjects in the middle of the photo. I decided to put them in the top two thirds of the cropped area because I wanted to show a little bit of the stonework at the bottom of the photo. I think this helped the photo to look more grounded.
Once you're happy with the placement and are ready to crop, you can either double click inside the area to be cropped, or hit Apply.
2. Compare and Contrast
Next we're going to adjust the exposure of the photo. Click the menu tab marked Exposure, which is the fourth one down. You will see options to edit the Brightness, Highlights, Shadows and Contrast of the photo. We are only going to adjust the brightness and contrast levels, but you can play around with the others if you'd like.
Use the bars under brightness and contrast to adjust the levels until you are happy. My photo was a little dark, so I adjust brightness to 12. I don't have a hard and fast rule for these, just move it around until you are happy with it. Remember we will be adjusting the saturation later on, so if the photo looks a little washed out, don't worry. You can always change these later as well, if something looks too dark or too bright.
For contrast, I chose a level of 25. This was the point when the black of the two subjects' shirts looked pure black. If you go too strong with the contrast, you can always lower it later. Once you're happy, click Apply.
3. Saturated Market
Next we're going to use the Colors menu. This menu is the fifth one down. We are going to adjust the saturation of the colors now. This basically means how strong the colors are. In my last step, the photo looked bright, but not vibrant. I chose a level of 25 for my saturation in this photo. I basically moved the level around until I felt like the leaf color int he background and the skin and clothing colors of the subject were correct. If something looks a little off, you can go back to the Exposure menu and adjust the brightness and contrast levels further.
At this point, you can make any more little edits and adjustments with the Exposure and Color menus, and once you're happy, click save at the top of the page. You will be able to save the photo to your computer, and Voila! You did it!
4. Celebrate! You did it!
Compared to my original photo, my edited photo looks a lot more vibrant and realistic. The tighter crop on the finished product not only puts the focus more onto the subjects, but also gets rid or some of the clutter in the background. The color saturation really brought the autumn leaves to life. Overall, I'm really happy with this photo, especially considering it took less than 5 minutes to edit!
To learn about some other great photo editing resources, check out this Blog Post, and always remember to tag #SisterStyle on social media to interact with Jennifer and I!
Jessica is the Co-Founder
of Sister Style By Design and
the Owner of Merry Apothecary
She likes making bath bombs
and editing photos, and dislikes
writing about herself in tiny
boxes at the end of blog posts
About the Authors
We are Jessica and Jennifer, and we're the sisters behind Sister Style! We will fill this blog with news about our brands and our lives, as well as DIY tutorials and projects. Enjoy!