I started blogging in November of 2011. I had no idea I would enjoy it so much or that I would “meet” so many interesting people who inform me, inspire me or encourage me in so many ways.
The more I blogged, the more I wanted to add interest to my posts. The obvious way to add interest (aside from the content itself – which I am still working on) is with pictures. No matter how mundane or serious the story is, pictures bring your story to life and I think they are an important part of any blog.
For those of you who have grown up with technology, have been in the blogging community from the beginning or are just plain smarter than me, you may find the info in this post dated and useless. For those of you who are still struggling and want to do more with your photos but aren’t sure how, I hope this post helps.
When I ask fellow bloggers and Etsy shop owners what they use to edit photos, they all recommend Picasa. I’m in no way knocking Picasa, honestly, I haven’t tried it. I started using PicMonkey before I knew about Picasa, but with all the Picasa recommendations, I thought I’d pop over to their website and check it out. Here is what I was greeted with:
OK already too complicated.
1- I didn’t want to down load anything (I’m weird like that)
2 – I’m not interested in circles and organizing and sharing options
3- I just want to edit a photo RIGHT NOW and not worry about anything else
When You go to PicMonkey you get this:
See the ‘edit a photo’ button? When you click it you are immediately asked to choose the photo you want to edit. When you open a photo the editing options are presented in an easy to read menu on the left along with other options like themes and overlays. Simple, easy and FAST. I should add there is no need to sign in. Sign in is for paid subscribers who want access to the upgrade options. After you edit your photo, save it. PicMonkey offers three suggestions and brief descriptions of each best choice for saving. Click one and save it. So easy a Monkey could do it.
I own all the tools needed to produce great photos, including the full creative suite of Photoshop. Surely this is all any talented tech savvy person needs to create stunning photos. Key words there being tech savvy. Though I have fairly decent computer skills I struggle with Photoshop, I haven’t given up, but I needed something user-friendly (idiot proof) until I become proficient with Photoshop. Patience would help too – I need that as well.
I absolutely love PicMonkey and find for a beginner like me it is perfect; an affordable (if not free) way to experiment and develop my photo editing skills.
PicMonkey offers for free:
– Basic editing options: crop, sharpen resize…
– Several free touch up options like blemish fix, teeth whitening and blush boost – of course wrinkle remover, spray tan, eye brighten and many more fixes are available when you pay for the upgrade. It’s true, beauty always comes with a price tag.
– 30 free overlays such as flowers, stars, flourishes, moustaches and more. There are 11 more cool overlays offered to those who opt for the upgrade.
– Fun themes like vampire, sweetheart, zombies… I made the photo below with the Day of the Dead theme. The overlays I used were free with the exception of the marigolds and flourishes. I realize this isn’t a great piece of work, but I did it on only 10 minutes just to prove how easy it is.
Here are a few things I was able to do quickly and easily in PicMonkey:
Anyway, the point is PicMonkey is fast, affordable/free, easy and fun.
Now, for the paid upgrade part
I wanted to make an Etsy banner which I attempted to do first in Photoshop. It wasnt happening. On PicMonkey there is a layout under the ‘make a collage’ option called ‘Pinter-etsy’. It’s a template that makes it easy to fit your photos to the specifications of an Etsy banner and I’m assuming for Pinterest as well. There is also a Facebook template. These options are what led me to find out just how much it would cost to upgrade.
Was I ever surprised to find I could upgrade and have access to all the fun, useful, easy editing and effect options for only 4.99 USD a month. (Actually – for a year subscription the cost is 33.00 USD a year; $2.75 a month!) Sounded like a deal to me. Within 25 minutes I had my Etsy banner made. Yayyy PicMonkey! (That doesn’t include the time spent trying to capture the perfect photo.) I also created a watermark I want to start adding to the photos I post on-line. You can easily create a simple logo on PicMonkey too.
I was encouraged to write this post because I recently came across a few crafting and DIY blogs that sounded interesting but when I went to read and SEE more, there were no photos offered. How could that be? With such a blog, photos are a must in my opinion. But I noticed those blogs were new, so I guessed the bloggers were still in the learning phase themselves and would have loved to have added photos, but weren’t sure how to go about it. Hey, I was there once too and while I still have a lot to learn, PicMonkey has been a great help – No Master Degree in design software required 🙂
Anyway, I hope you have found this post useful.What tools and services have you found helpful in improving your blog? If you’ve never tried PicMonkey, head over to their website and play around a bit then let me know what you think. They also have a very informative blog chock- full of “wisdom and madness” as they say in their tag line. Did I also mention I love their subtle sense of humor?
Cheers for now and Happy Blogging…