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Welcome to the first of (hopefully) many Picmonkey tutorials. I have been using Picmonkey for a while now. I am sure a lot of you use it for blog posts or just for your own personal photos. It’s an excellent resource that takes out all the guessing when it comes to photo editing. I use it for almost every photo you see here on the blog along with almost all the photos my friends and family see me post on Facebook. Everything takes a run through Picmonkey first.
Anyway, like most other things, the more I use Picmonkey the more I realize how little I know about it’s capabilities! You can make BEAUTIFUL photos that will make you look like a pro! Of course, I haven’t achieved that level of Picmonkeying yet. But I will share with you what I have learned when it comes to making stunning silhouette photos! Please forgive me ahead of time for my lack of camera terms. I really am just learning myself!
Ok, so the first thing you need is a window or door large enough that your subject can stand or sit in front of. It’s important that the majority of your subject’s body can be in front of the window or door, so the bigger the better. The door I chose has a curtain that light can be seen through but not everything out the window can be seen through. I prefer this but if you don’t have a light curtain go ahead and try without any curtain. Just make sure the majority of what you see out the window is white. You don’t want a big building or something behind you. This is why the curtain is useful. It lets light in without letting us see what is out the window.
Ok, so you have the window or door ready. You need to get your camera ready. Because I took a photo of myself I needed a tripod. You can find them very cheap on Amazon. But if you have a subject (none of my little subjects sit still long enough anymore) then no tripod is needed.
I set my camera to “program” mode. And I moved the aperture value to just about -2. Play around with your settings in this area as it really depends on the type of curtain (or lack of curtain!) and how sunny of a day you have, etc. But moving this setting lower allows more light to come in behind your subject and darkens what is not light.
Don’t worry if you don’t have the exact photo you want when you take the photo. Maybe it’s too light in some place. Maybe it’s got the edge of your tv in the background. Remember, we are running it through Picmonkey in a minute so these details are no problem! I’d say the most important thing would be that your photo is dark enough that you can’t tell what color shirt your subject is wearing. Now put the photo on your computer and pull up Picmonkey!
I upgraded to Premium Picmonkey about a year ago. It’s not necessary that you have the paid version but I do really really enjoy all the paid features. If you plan on using picmonkey a lot it is definitely worth it.
Okay, so the first thing you want to do is load your picture to Picmonkey.
Easy stuff. We are off to a great start. If you are anything like me the first thing you will notice is the window on the left that is just about driving you crazy. Remember, I said those things are an easy fix. When I am editing a photo the first thing I always do is crop out anything I don’t like. So good bye annoying window.
You’ll notice not only did I cut off that annoying window but I also got rid of some of the black on the right. If you like it, keep it. But for the photos I wanted to get rid of it. I used those awesome lines to get my body right down the middle.
Okay, so we are cropped and ready to edit the photo. The next thing I always do is go to the exposure on the left and move around the brightness and contrast. I lowered the brightness to make the subject darker and raised the contrast to make the light brighter. Play around with this a bit until you find just the right mixture for your photo. ETA: after this photo I played around more and brought the brightness way down to -20 and the contrast to 90. Try it out. It gave a beautiful image!
I hope you are starting to get excited about the look of your masterpiece!
The next thing you will want to do is move down to the effects…the magic wand.
Choose an effect you like. For this type of photo I usually head straight to the black and white effects but before you do, check out the first couple. Urbane was an awesome choice for this photo! Now, I apologize, but since I have the paid feature it doesn’t indicate to me what features are free and which ones you only get in the premium version. Work with what you got!
Now it’s just time for some finishing touches! I added some text to mine. There are also a lot of great overlays and clip art on Picmonkey. Explore a bit and make it your own. I chose to add some text using my own font. Now, Picmonkey has a ton of great fonts already but I love that I have the option to use fonts I have downloaded to my computer (I will teach you how to do that another time!)
Once you have the image exactly how you want it to look, you are definitely going to want to save it. So look up toward the top of your screen and you see the option save but then a couple buttons over you see export. If you click save you will be saving it to your hub (again, I don’t know if this is just a paid feature or it’s always there). When you save it to your hub you ARE NOT saving it to your computer. You are saving it to your picmonkey account.
That is a really cool feature because then you can download the picmonkey app on your phone, sign into your hub and have the photo right there making it so easy to upload your amazing photos to Instagram. However, if what you want to do is save it to your computer click export. There you will choose which folder to export it to and it will be saved to your computer.
There you have it! Do you feel accomplished? I think you should feel accomplished. Go show your creation to the world!
If you are looking for a great camera I definitely suggest the Canon Rebel T5 that I use. You can find my post about it here. And if you are interested in the Premium version of Picmonkey you can try the free trial here.
Every week I link up to these great blogs!