5 Photo Editing Best Practices

5 Photo Editing Best Practices

You want fast? You want easy? That’s what we deliver. These five basic photo editing best practices will give your photos enough impact to make asteroids jealous.

1. Resize for intended use

Read PicMonkey's 5 basic rules for photo editing.

Images should be optimized for the viewing context. If the photo’s dimensions are too large, it’ll take longer to download. If the photo is too small, the browser will expand it, which ends up looking like fresh garbàge. So find out the exact size you need and resize the image (or crop it) to those dimensions. For printing, refer to our handy dandy pixels-to-inches conversion chart.

2. Crop for composition

Read PicMonkey's 5 basic rules for photo editing.

An oft-quoted quip by legendary photojournalist Robert Capa goes, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” If your image was taken from too far away, no need to panic. The Crop tool’s here to get you closer to the action.

Tip: Crop’s pulling double duty, since you can remove parts of your image while changing its shape as well. To preserve the dimensions, just select Scale photo and plug in your dimensions.

For even more perfection, use Crop and our Rotate tool. The Straighten slider displays a grid over your image, so you can make sure everything is aligned and perfectly composed.

3. Remove distracting backgrounds

Read PicMonkey's 5 basic rules for photo editing.

Try to avoid distracting backgrounds when you’re framing your shot. But if you get into a bind, Crop, Clone, and Soften are your best photo editing friends. If there’s junk in your periphery, Crop’s got your back. When things seem a bit more tricky, Soften is like a blur, perfect for downplaying your problematic background while bringing attention to your subject (remember to use the effect brush to paint it exactly where you want it). Clone is your advanced option—watch our tutorial here—and is perfect for making mistakes disappear.

For the ambitious, Textures let you full-on replace your background with either an image of your own or one of our beauty-licious textures. You’ll be an expert after you watch this tutorial.

4. Fade is your friend

Read PicMonkey's 5 basic rules for photo editing.

Our photo editing effects add impact to your image, but subtlety is everything. Too much of an effect draws attention away from the image. Find the sweet spot by experimenting with the Fade slider and you’ll avoid that dreaded over-edited look. Try fading different effects here.

5. Sharpen last and do it at 100%

Read PicMonkey's 5 basic rules for photo editing.

Sharpen cleans up your image. Feel free to see for yourself. Use the Sharpen tool only when your image is at 100% zoom. (At any other size, your computer is temporarily resizing the image to fit on the screen. When that temporary resizing is going on, you can’t see precisely what Sharpen is doing.) Find a detail where sharpen matters the most, like eyes. If you’re printing, add just a little more sharpening than you need. Why? Because printing means ink bleeding, and ink bleeding means some minor blur. Some slight over-sharpening will make up for that. Finally, always sharpen last.

Very, very, last.


You think these are cool? Just wait til you see what Royale can do!

We’ve got a Pinterest board chock full of photo editing tips. Check it out.

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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.