Anyone else doing a photo project this year? I’m attempting to have a picture of my kids each week of the year. So far, so good. I have 2 photos with all 5 kids within the first 14 days of January. Now to get 50 more. Or, maybe you’re not doing a challenge but want to play around with your photos and edit them a bit. PicMonkey is also a great tool and can be completely free if you don’t want to upgrade to Royale (but I use Royale, and part of this tutorial does, also).
I’ll walk you through my process of editing, and then I’d love to see what you can come up with!
First tip: Go easy on the edits. A good photo can start to look overdone if you aren’t careful. I always decrease the effects and almost never use an edit at 100%. Exception: when I convert to black and white. I don’t want a smidge of color left anywhere.
Step one: create an account with PicMonkey.
Step two: upload a photo.
Step three: in “Basic edits”, adjust the exposure. Use the sliders to adjust the brightness, highlights, shadows, and contrast to your liking. Just a little bit of adjusting to the right is what I typically to, and then my photo starts to “pop”. When you are happy, click “apply”.
Step four: (OPTIONAL) Adjust the sharpness or clarity of your photo. Again, just use the sliders to adjust. This step brings out the details a bit. I rarely go through this step.
Step five: Choose the “Effects” editor (the little magic wand option), then “black and white”. You could stop here, if you’re happy with it. You can play around with the filter and see how it changes the look. I tend to leave it where it is and not mess with the filter. Then, because I want to adjust the midtones so there is less gray and more contrast, I do a bit more. This is where the Royale membership is handy, because the “Curves” editor is not part of the free PicMonkey.
Step six option 1: Use “Curves” to create an “s” curve and adjust your midtones, shadows, and highlights. I first use the center point and drag it slightly up. Then I drag the point just below that (not the corner point) down a tiny bit, or leave it where it is. I next drag the point just above the center point slightly up, which brightens the whites if needed. Last, I like to pull the bottom corner point up a bit to give a more matte look to the photo. It’s totally your preference. When you’re happy with it, click “apply”.
Step six option 2: You can, if you want to keep it “Free” on PicMonkey, go back to the beginning step in basic edits to adjust the exposure, highlights, shadows, and brightness one last time. It might help you find the “pop” in your black and white conversion that you seek.
Step seven: SAVE that sweet new black and white photo. Or, start over if you’re unhappy with it. Black and whites are fun. I’ve tweeked my style of black and white in the last several years. Find what you like and be proud of it!
I can’t wait to see what you do with these tips. And play around! There are lots of ways to edit your photo to your liking. You are the artist. Make it something you love!