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’re editing our crumbuns off: experimenting, playing, and punching out some seriously 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

Photo Editing for Cool Newbies 1

Hover over the Edit button at the top of the homepage, and photo storage places appear beneath it (your computer, PicMonkey Hub, Facebook, OneDrive, Dropbox, or Flickr). Click one to select your photo, and it 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 homepage, 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.

Cropping your photos in PicMonkey is easy with the Crop tool.

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 bottom toolbar

Notice the toolbar that sits directly below 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. You can also take a look at the changes with the Before/after button, which looks like a half-filled-in rectangle. Click and hold it to see your image before the changes, and release to see it after edits.

Make your people pop

Retouching portraits (like this one of a young man in a blue hat) is easy with PicMonkey's touch up tools.

If there’s a person in your photo, you can experiment with our Touch Up tools to bring out the best in their facial features. Go to the Touch Up tab (third icon down in the far left column). You can also get to Touch Up directly from the Touch Up button atop the homepage. Some all-time favorite free ones are Blemish Fix and Blush Boost.

You can experiment with the Premium Touch Up effects even if you’re not a Premium member; you just can’t fully apply them to the photo. Favorite Premium 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 also put some great samples of photos that we retouched in our Touch Up board on Pinterest!

Mod-up the mood

Add photo effects to give your images a new look. Adding effects is easy with PicMonkey's photo editing tools.

Click the Effects tab (the magic wand icon in the far left column), and you’ll find photo effects that can dramatically change the mood of your photo in one click. The effects in the Tried and True group are some of PicMonkeyers’ faves. We used Intrepid to create an artsy vibe with some darkened edges. Go to our Pinterest Effects board for a quick look at before-and-after pics of many of our effects.

Get graphic

Add graphics (like sunglasses!) to your pictures with PicMonkey.

Time to have some fun with photo overlays, which are vector graphics exclusive to PicMonkey. Click the Overlays tab (the butterfly icon in the far left column). You’ll find all kinds of grand graphics, grouped by type. Peruse the options and when you find the overlay of your dreams, click it. The corner circles help you size the overlay, and the top circle helps rotate it to just the right angle. You can also change the colors, adjust the fade, erase parts of your overlay, and experiment with blend modes using the Overlay palette that appears when you select an overlay.

Wrap it up

Add a fun frame to your pictures to give them a different look. Adding a Polaroid frame to your photos is easy with PicMonkey.

Now it’s time to frame this work of art. Click the Frames tab (the square icon near the bottom of the far left column). Note that some frames may crop your photo into different shapes.

Many frames include the option to change your background colors, or you can click Transparent background, which makes the frame look super realistic.

Now you’ve got the gist of how to edit your pics with PicMonkey, but there are a couple extra goodies for you to check out on your next photo editing adventure. Be sure to visit the Text tab to easily add words to photos and designs; the Themes tab for special fonts, effects, and overlays for holidays and more; and Templates, which are customizable designs just waiting for your boundless creativity and beauteous images to set them free.

Saving and sharing

Once your image is lookin’ right, it’s time to save and share!

Save your photo using the Save button in the top toolbar. You’ll need to log in or create your PicMonkey account in order to save an image. When you click Save, you’ll be redirected to the Save screen, where you can save to your computer, OneDrive, or Dropbox.

If you’re a Premium subscriber, you can also add your image to Hub by clicking Add to Hub in the top toolbar. Images in Hub can be re-edited later.

You can also share your photo to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, or through email using the Share button in the same toolbar.


Upgrade to PicMonkey Premium for access to the most advanced tools and powerful features.
Start your free trial!

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.