Photo Editing Tutorial for Cool Newbies

Photo Editing Tutorial for Cool Newbies

Hey you! Don’t just lean against the wall with that “I’m fine…really!” look on your face. Come join the photo editing party! We are editing our crumbuns off: experimenting, playing, and punching out some hecka beautiful images. Here’s the skinny on how to dive into our photo editor while holding your drink level and looking kewl.

Get your photo into the Editor

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Hover over the Edit button at the top of the home page, and photo storage places appear beneath it (your computer’s hard drive or PicMonkey Hub; or your Dropbox, Facebook, OneDrive, or Flickr account). Click one to select your photo. Your photo will open in the PicMonkey Editor. Alternatively, some browsers will allow you to dra-a-a-g your photo into the Editor; just start dragging the photo and you’ll see a square launch target to drop the photo into when your mouse crosses state lines into PicMonkey territory.

If you’d rather play with a sample photo, we’ve got a few to the right of your photo storage options, after you’ve hovered over the Edit button. Click one and it will open in the Editor.

From this point, the world’s your oyster—explore, you Magellan! Or you can keep following our docent tour, here…

Kick off with the basics

PicMonkey launches the Editor with the Basic Edits tab open. If you launched the Editor by clicking somewhere else on the home page, click the Basic Edits tab (the topmost icon in the far left column). Click the Auto adjust button to see what PicMonkey thinks is your photo’s best exposure, color, and clarity. Sometimes the Monkey’s right, sometimes not.

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Click Crop. If you want your photo to maintain its aspect ratio (proportions), click Scale photo before you start. Click and drag the corner circles to crop it, and click Apply when you like what you’ve done.

Make friends with the top toolbar

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Notice the toolbar that sits directly above your photo. Your best friend is the Undo button, the curvy arrow icon that points to the left. This is how you undo any action or any effect once it’s been applied. For example, if you didn’t like what Auto adjust did to your photo, click Undo.

Make your people pop

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If there’s a person in your photo, you can experiment with our Touch Up tools to bring out the best in his or her facial features. Go to the Touch Up tab by clicking the lipstick icon in the far left column. (You can also get to Touch Up directly from the Touch Up button atop the home page). Some all-time favorite free ones are Blemish Fix, Blush Boost, and Weight Loss. You can experiment with the Royale Touch Up effects even if you’re not a Royale member; you just can’t fully apply them to the photo. Favorite Royale Touch Up effects are Wrinkle Remover, Mascara, Eye Brighten, and Air Brush. Our photo subject got turn-around-bright-eyes today, with Eye Brighten. We put some great samples of photos that we retouched, in our Touch Up board on Pinterest!

Mod-up the mood

Click the Effects tab (the magic wand icon in the far left column). These effects are made of awesome, and they can dramatically change the mood of your photo in one click. The efffects group called Tried and True are huge among PicMonkeyers. We used Dusk to create a warm vignette around our lovely lady. Go to our Pinterest Effects board for a quick look at before-and-after pics of many of our effects.

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Get graphic

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Time to have some fun with photo overlays. Click the Overlays tab (the butterfly icon in the far left column). Scroll down the menu to the People Toppers effects group. Click Facial Hair and observe the instant manliness. Mrs. Lovely’s going to a costume party so we’re going to give her a mustache. The corner circles help you size the overlay, and the top circle helps rotate the image to just the right angle.

Wrap it up

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Now it’s time to frame zis verk of art. Click the Frame tab (the square icon near the bottom of the far left column). The first four frames are the easiest to work with because they maintain your photo’s original aspect ratio. Try Polaroid Frame. Notice that it may crop your photo to a square. Click Transparent background, which makes the frame look super realistic.


Save your photo using the Save button in the top toolbar. You can click Share in the same toolbar to share it on your own PicMonkey share page in Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest or Email.

Next time you begin a photo editing adventure you can explore the Themes tab for special fonts, effects and overlays for holidays and more. And have a looksy at Templates, customizable designs just waiting for your boundless creativity to set them free.

This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make good pictures and take over the world.