Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Clean Edit {PicMonkey Tutorial}

I know there are many many people using PicMonkey these days for editing photos, especially bloggers. So, I thought I'd give a little tutorial on how to do just a basic "clean" edit using this FREE online photo editor. There are a lot of features that may eventually be features that you have to register and pay for, but much of what I'm going to use are basic and will hopefully always be free.

  1. Open your photo for editing. 
  2. I initially resized my photo because I shoot in RAW and the file is HUGE! So you can do this by just going to Resize at the bottom of the left hand column and typing about 3200px for the long side of the photo. This will allow you to safely print up to an 8x10. 
  3. I start with correcting my White Balance (sometimes I crop first, but didn't for this photo).  Choose Colors > Neutral Picker> take the eye dropper and click on a neutral/white area in your photo. You may have to do this a couple of times to get the right balance. Then you can warm it up if you feel like it needs it but sliding the Saturation bar to the right. Click Apply (this will be for every part of the edit, so I will not actually say that for each step). If at some point you've applied an edit and decide you want to go back there is an undo button just above your photo as you can see in the screen shot below.

4. Once I have my colors corrected, I begin correcting the skin (if needed). Choose the Lipstick to reveal the Touch up tools. You are going to want to be VERY careful here as it can get out of hand fast! (especially if you are editing yourself) ;) You don't want it to look too fake or "touched up". What I wanted to accomplish here is to remove unwanted blemishes or shadows causing an unnatural appearance. 

5. Skin Correction: 
  • Airbrush tool set to natural, adjust brush size, and fade to between 70 and 90 percent. Brush cheeks, under eyes, and other areas of bare skin if needed. You can always fade it more after, but if you need two different settings you'll have to "apply" then start again. 
  • Choose the Blush Boost tool. I used this here only because after getting rid of the shadow made her look a little washed out and it was a very overcast, dreary evening. I brushed a very light peach/pink onto her cheeks and faded to my liking. 

7. Teeth Whitening: I use this tool for well teeth whitening, but in this case I used it for eye whitening. In many photos you will find that an overcast or shadow may cause the whites of the eyes to look a little grey or blue. I am not a big fan of PicMonkey's Eye Brightening tool. So, I use a combo of teeth whitening and Dodge in the Effects section. Zoom in and brush the whites of the eyes desaturating the tint.  

8. Effects: For a clean edit, we won't use any of the real effects that are offered here, but the Advanced editing tools found at the bottom of that section. 

  • First, I chose Dodge. Her eyes, especially the irises, are pretty dark so we want to lighten them up a little. I set it to mid tones and just began to brush. I had to redo this several times to get a look that I liked. Remember natural is best for  a clean edit (you can add effect later). 
  • Next, I chose Burn and made my brush pretty small. I went over the outline of her face, hair, and dress around the neck. This I used it on her lashes and lips to add a little depth.
9. Crop, Resize for Blog, Watermark using the "P", Save!

That's it! I hope this was helpful. Please let me know if you use it. You can find how I used PicMonkey to do a Black and White conversion here. You can find my model here. And you can find me here, here, and here.

Stephanie Clark
Behind the Camera and Dreaming


  1. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I use Pic Monkey and it helps to understand how to use some of the other tools. I am working more with the basic edits but haven't ventured into the Advanced tools yet. Reading this will help me tackle it! Blessings!

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial! Its always helpful to better learn how to use some of the tools that picmonkey offers. I can't wait to try this tutorial out!

  3. I've been using PicMonkey, but not to the extent your tutorial offers. Great advice.


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