Have you taken time to look back at those old blog posts from when you first started? Ew...mine are not so great! Not exactly drawing in the crowds I bet? Probably not getting many pins either. Great blog posts take planning and...great pictures! Today, I am going to share with you one of my go-to places for blog post planning. Picmonkey has lots of options (for free), but it is well worth the premium membership fee of $4.99 a month. It is a site I use on a daily basis, and in a short amount of time, you can learn how to use all of it's great features. Whether you have photos of you wish to resize, a collection you wish to put in a collage, a blog post header to create, or images you want to frame and watermark, Picmonkey is the place. I love using it for all of these purposes, and I use it for all of my blog posts, Facebook posts, Pinterest pins, and Instagram. So...let's get started in learning how it works.
The first thing you need to know is why I like working with Picmonkey when Powerpoint can do many of the same things. First of all, I love that I can quickly add frames, watermarks, and text (using my own fonts or the fonts Picmonkey offers). Picmonkey has lots of framing options and a wide assortment of embellishments which really make the photos look professional.
Another thing I love about Picmonkey is that I can size my photos to the exact dimensions I want them to be in my post. Cropping and resizing is very easy to do with the app, and it helps me focus in on just the part of the image I wish to emphasize. In fact, I can easily match my frame to the colors in the photo too.
Sometimes, I enjoy showing things from different angles or just have too many photos. For this issue, the collage features works well. You can just slug your photos into the pre-sized collage board, and resize or modify the collage too. Once the collage is complete, you can trim it with papers available through the site and frame it as you do with photos in the photo editor. Have special fonts and clip art you love? No problem, you can use it with Picmonkey too.
Here comes the fun part. I'm going to walk you through some of the options you have. I'll start with creating your own quote boxes, blog post images, and text like the topic headers above. If you're wanting to emphasize a piece of research, highlight the words of an author, or just point out an important part of your blog post, you might want to start with a blank screen versus work with photos. With this option, you can add clip art or photos as an overlay too. Here is how...
Option One-Designing Your Own Image
Step 1-Choose from the Main Menu (Design)
To begin, you'll want to select what you'd like to do...work with a photo, correct a photo, create a sign with a blank screen, or create a collage. For a quote box, blog post header, or even lines of text like I did above (Why I like Picmonkey and The Options), you would select "Design". Then, you would select either square or custom. I personally like using the custom setting because I can set the dimensions before I begin to build my image. For most blogs, the total width is 640 pixels (which is the XL size in blogger), so typically select 500 px for the width and 300-400 px for the height. That size fits well for Facebook and Twitter.
Step 2-Select your background and frame it (or not).
Once you have your size selected, the next step is to select the background and frame. I normally use the simple frame since I can match the colors to colors in my photo, but recently I've had fun using a transparent background to create more of a collage style header. You can do this by layering images and text. Here are examples of some I've made.
Option Two-Embellishing Photos
Step 1-Choose Edit OR Collage
With photos, you have a few options. You can edit the size of your photo, crop them, or combine them into the collage I mentioned earlier. Once you have your image up, you'll see in the basic menu is the top option. This is where you go to fix the size and coloring of the image. The "magic wand" is where you'd go if you wish to make the image sepia toned, black and white, or even the Andy Warhol look. It is also where you "smudge out" the faces of your students to protect their privacy, or modify other elements of the photo. Option number three is the "lipstick" menu which is used to fix blemishes or other photo errors, and the remaining options will be demonstrated in the next part. Below, notice how I played with a picture of my kids. #1...original, #2 has just a frame and caption, and #3 HDR effect.
Now maybe you do not need to make changes to the photo and just want to prep them for your post. That just requires the text tool, overlay tool (butterfly), and the framing tool. I typically frame first, add text second, and add my watermark last. The image to the right shows a collage I framed. I put the caption space at the bottom so that I could add a comment.
If you want to keep things cohesive, you can use a "wonder tool" called the eyedropper. I use the eyedropper A LOT! You can use it to make the frame and text color match elements in your photo. I did that with picture #2 of my kids. I used the eyedropper to grab the navy from my son's shirt for the frame. To use it, all you do is click on the eyedropper, drag it to the color you'd like to use from the photo, and click it. You'll see the color (and the color #) show up in the box next to the word, thickness.
After I added the caption below, I decided to show how you can add text on top of the photos and use arrows to point out something important. There is a collection of arrow options, but you can also add them from a clip art collection you might have by using the "Your Own" option at the top of the overlay menu (butterfly).
You may have thought I was done there, but oh no I wasn't. I went one step further, and decided to add some snowflakes on top using elements from the themes section (apple). There is a "Winter Escapes" theme that had special overlays and text options for winter, so I added some snowflakes on top.