Today I want to share a fun, FREE resource I discovered several months ago: Picmonkey! It may be of interest if you are a blog owner, scrapbooker, or someone that just wants to pretty up his/her photos with minimal work. You might have noticed I’ve started including more banner images on my post like this:
All of these banners were created with a Kodak EasyShare MD41 point and shoot camera (Amazon link) and all three banners created in minutes using PicMonkey! I share this to encourage those of you that feel you know nothing about photography or graphic design: trust me, there is hope! I’m not trained at all and I don’t have much time to sit around and edit photos or learn complicated software. That being said, I know how important good images are on a blog – a blog is visual, and many social media sites value clean, pretty images (Pinterest, anyone?).
How to Create a Simple Banner in Picmonkey
When you head to Picmonkey, you’ll have two options – edit an image or create a banner. Let’s start with editing an image first.
Bring up the photo you wish to edit.
In the left hand sidebar, you’ll see a number of options – you can tweak the color, exposure, resize, sharpen, and crop. I’m happy with my photo the way it is, so I’m going to move onto the next step by creating a special banner for my image.
Now I used to just put text directly over the photo, but I found adding a little border makes it easier to read (and prettier!). To do this, click this button on Picmonkey:
From here, I usually choose the simple rectangular shape under “geometric.”
Then, stretch to position the rectangle how you like.
Here’s another idea: make a second, skinnier rectangle shape and add a second color! For the image below, I created one skinny one and got the color just how I wanted. Then I right clicked and selected “duplicate overlay” and it gave me a second, identical image. I then dragged and dropped in place to make this ribbon effect:
For the text, select the giant “P” in the left hand sidebar.
Write your text and drag and drop on your new border. Of course, you can always adjust the text size and border size. If the border is blocking the text, right click and select “send to back.”
Now there are other features in there you can use, and some are premium (meaning, for paid users). For now, I feel like I can do what I want to do using the completely FREE features.
A Couple Ideas for Bloggers
If you are a blogger, I also highly recommend adding your url/blog name on your photos too.
You might be curious HOW to get these images as clickable banners on your sidebar, as I’ve done on mine (see the right!). I did this myself by first uploading the image to my blog first, and then using a simple code. You can copy/paste it into your blog wherever you wish – just update with the bolded details for your image:
<a href=” http://yourpostorpagelink.html” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://yournewbeautifulphoto.jpg” width=”number” height=”number“/> (Note: the dimensions for my banner images are about 300 X 250)
Other Ideas for Using PicMonkey
I have also recently discovered the collage features! These are a nice way to group a series of related photos for impact in your blog posts, or personal/business Facebook pages.
Here are a few examples of what I created in minutes using Picmonkey’s collage:
I can’t see a way to add text to a collage photo, so for the one below I made the collage FIRST, and then went back and edited it as a photo using the method described above. It still only took a matter of minutes to create!
Also of interest: you can make Facebook collages using Picmonkey! I just did this over the weekend to give The Coupon Project’s Facebook timeline a new look. This is nice so you don’t have to guess around anymore about the dimensions. Easy peasy lemon squeezy (as my son would say!).
I hope this post was helpful if you’ve been looking for new ways to enhance your photos for FREE.
If you use Picmonkey already, I’d love to hear how else you’re using it!