Ever since the introduction of cloud computing, it seems that amazing new web-based tools pop up online almost daily, often eliminating the need for expensive software or technical expertise. You can use Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office. Dropbox has solved the problem of storing and sending large files. Canva makes it easy to create awesome graphics without shelling out the money for Photoshop (or the need for graphic design experience).
Today we’re showing you another one of these super useful web-based tools: PicMonkey. PicMonkey is a free image editing tool that’s packed with tons of great features while still being easy enough for just about anyone to use. It’s perfect for turning everyday images into eye-catching visual content for sharing on the web and social media.
PicMonkey: Free Image Editing Made Easy
To get started with PicMonkey, simply choose from the four options offered on the homepage: Edit, Touch-Up, Design, or Collage. Edit and Touch-Up both take you to the main photo-editing dashboard – start by clicking on either one, then choose the file(s) from your computer or Dropbox that you want to edit. You don’t even have to create an account or go through any steps – just choose a photo and start editing.
Note: Clicking “Design” also takes you to the same dashboard, except that you start from scratch with a blank canvas rather than starting with an image.
To view and apply the different features available, click on the icons along the far left sidebar. The top one, called Basic Edits, includes the features you typically see in photo editing software: crop, rotate, adjust brightness and contrast, adjust color, etc.
The second icon, Effects, contains several options you may not expect in a free program, such as a full range of photo filters (think Instagram-style), along with other effects related to tint, lighting, and focus.
The “Touch-Up” tab for portraits has unique options like Lip Tint, Teeth Whiten and Weight Loss (yes, really) in addition to the standards like red-eye remover and blemish eraser.
The other tabs allow you to add text, icons, overlays and frames to your image, and there are even a variety of textures you can blend with your photo, like water or clouds. Here’s my original image with a frame, shape overlay and text added.
Note: Some of PicMonkey’s features are marked with a crown icon, indicating that these are only available to Royale (read: paying) members. There are a nice array of options available with the free version of the tool, or you can sign up for a Royale account for $4.99 per month.
Beyond Basic Photo Editing
In addition to the impressive collection of touch-up tools and photo editing options, PicMonkey also has a collage feature so you can stitch together several photos in a variety of layouts and page sizes. It’s very simple and intuitive – just open the images, choose a layout and drag-and-drop your photos into the layout. If you change your mind about how many photos to include, you can simply delete unwanted images by clicking the little “x” in the corner or drag new photos into the layout to add boxes.
When you’re finished editing a photo or creating a collage, click “Save” at the top of the dashboard to save the file to your computer or Dropbox folder. Or, click “Share” to post your image to social media or send it via email.
And that’s it! With the investment of little time and exactly zero dollars, you can produce fantastic images for your blog, website, or social media. PicMonkey does not have the advanced features of a design program like Photoshop, but if you’re looking for a free, easy-to-use photo editing tool, you can’t beat it.
Do you use PicMonkey for editing photos? What’s your favorite cloud-based tool that has made your life easier? Let us know in the comments and we may feature it in a future Toolkit Tuesday post!