How to Edit Photos, Part 3: Editing Portraits

How to Edit Photos, Part 3 (800x800)

Hello, folks! 😀

I’m back with another edition of the photo editing series I’m doing! 😀 (Click here to see part one, and here to see part two.) Today I want to go over how to use PicMonkey to touch up a portrait of a person, as well as some clever tricks to use the touch-up tools in unexpected ways. I’ll also talk about how to use PicMonkey to create the perfect book character portrait for those of my blogging friends who love writing. 😉 I hope you find this helpful!

To begin with, let’s go over some common problems and how to fix them with the tools in PicMonkey’s “Touch Up” tab.

  • Blemishes: Well obviously you can use the “Blemish Fix” tool, but you can also use the “Clone” tool if that doesn’t work (because sometimes it doesn’t). If Blemish Fix doesn’t work and you don’t have Royale, you can fix small blemishes with the “Draw” tool from the Effects tab. Set the hardness to zero and use the dropper to select the skin color surrounding the blemish. Then paint over the blemish, like you’re using concealer.
  • Erasing Flyaways and Frizzy Hair: I learned this tip from the PicMonkey blog! Use the “Wrinkle Remover” tool to erase that annoying halo of frizz around your subject’s head. Wrinkle Remover softens whatever it’s painted on to, so it basically blurs the stray hairs (and wrinkle lines) into their surroundings. On a related note, you can shape eyebrows with wrinkle remover too – just don’t overdo it! XD
  • Brightening Eyes and Other Shiny Things: The “Eye Brighten” tool is one of my favorites in the touch up tab because it’s so versatile. Use it to, duh, brighten peoples’ eyes, but also to brighten the eyes of animals and pets. Cat’s eyes, especially benefit from a little brightening to make them pop. Eye Brighten is good for other shiny things too, like jewelry, cameras, and watches, that are shiny in real life but are dull in the picture. Oh, and one more thing! Paint Eye Brighten onto the eyelashes, eyebrows, and any other parts of the face you want to sharpen and darken.
  • “Ironing” Wrinkly Clothing: You can actually smooth out wrinkles in clothing with Wrinkle Remover too! Imagine that. 🙂
  • Whiten Eyeballs: You can brighten the whites of your subjects eyes with Teeth Whiten! You can also use Clone to erase blood vessels or other blemishes.

Now that you know a few tricks, let me show you some examples.

before after.jpg

I have to say, I did use the Exposure tab first (mainly Highlights), since this photo was so dark to begin with. But after that, I used  a little bit of blemish remover/clone; some eye brighten (for eyes, camera, and watch); wrinkle remover to tame Megan’s flyaways, blur the background, unwrinkle her shirt, and smooth her eyebrows;and I think some airbrush too. Looking good!

before and after.jpg
photo credit via


Here I used wrinkle remover again to erase my flyaways and a few wrinkles in my shirt; and then eye brighten on my eyes, eyebrows, and Lily’s eye. 🙂

before and after.jpg

This is my Dad’s eye. 🙂 I chose not to erase the wrinkles completely, but I did smooth them just a tad. I also used Teeth Whiten and Clone to whiten the whites of his eyes, Mascara ( XD ) to darken his eyelashes, and Eye Brighten to brighten his eyes and darken his eyelashes as well.

before after.jpg

Here’s an example of using “Touch Up” to edit photos of your pets. This little kitten was so cute, but it’s face was kind of dirty. The only things I used here were Blemish Fix and Eye Brighten.

Now for the other part of the post…

How to Create the Perfect Book Character Portrait With PicMonkey

What happens when you know exactly what your character should look like, but you can’t find any pictures on Pinterest to match? That’s a terrible problem. 😛 But never fear – here’s how to fix it. Start with the best photo inspiration you have of your character, the photo that’s the closest thing to the picture in your mind. Try to find a picture where the structure of the face and hair is right, even if the colors are wrong. Then change the color of the character’s eyes, hair, lips, skin, etc. on PicMonkey!

Here’s an example I did. I’ve been trying to find the perfect picture for a character I have in mind, but I just couldn’t find it. This was a close one, but the eyes and eyebrows needed to be darker and the hair lighter. I touched this photo up on PicMonkey, and voila! (original photo via)

Aeryn before and after

I used Highlights and Clone to lighten her hair, Eyebrow Pencil to darken her eyebrows, Spray Tan to turn her irises brown, and Mascara and Eye Brighten to darken her eyes and eyelashes. It’s a lot of fun to edit pictures like that because they turn out so different than the original!

Before we finish, here’s a few miscellaneous tips:

  • Don’t Overdo It! This is one of the most important things to remember when editing portraits. You might be tempted to make your subject’s skin look perfectly smooth and their eyes look super shiny, but that looks fake. Stick to realistic edits unless, like for book characters, you’re purposely making them look different.
  • Go Royale: Unfortunately, a lot of the Touch Up tab is Royale. If you take pictures of people a lot, you might want to consider upgrading to Royale to get these and many more features. I have Royale, and I love it! It is, however, 30 something dollars a year, so I would recommend thinking about how much you’ll use it before buying it.
  • Improvise: If you don’t have Royale, you can often concoct your own Touch Up tools from various free effects and features elsewhere in PicMonkey. (For instance, using “Draw” instead of Clone.) The more you use PicMonkey, the more you’ll be able to master it.

So that’s about it! Many of the tools I didn’t talk about are self explanatory, so have fun experimenting by yourself! 🙂 If you have any questions, I’d be happy to hear them I’ll try and help you the best I can.

Thanks for reading!



35 thoughts on “How to Edit Photos, Part 3: Editing Portraits

  1. Wow this is really informative and PicMonkey sounds so cool! Need to check out the other 2 parts of this series and then check out PicMonkey!


  2. This is so much fun to read! And very useful! I make covers for people’s stories and is currently trying to find the right photos for both my story and theirs, it gets pretty challenging when I can’t find the ones that I want haha :p I’m so much more interested in PicMonkey now… is it actually free for all the basics though? Or do I have to pay to use it? Thanks! 🙂


    1. Aww, I’m so glad!
      Oh yes, that WOULD be helpful, then! And yep, PicMonkey is free, although you can pay to upgrade it if you want. But the basics are free for all, and you can really do a lot with just those!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is so awesome, Allison! I love all of these tips! I may get Royale sometime since I use PicMonkey pretty much on a daily basis. 😉
    Something I discovered is that Pixlr ( is a free photo editor that has Clone, Burn, Curves, and more for free. If I need those tools, I’ll edit my picture in PicMonkey and then finish it in Pixlr. 😀

    -Clara ❤


  4. Ooh, wonderful edition to this series, Allison! I’m so glad you decided to do this. 🙂
    I feel rather stupid saying this, but you just click the effect and touch where you want it to go? Or is it kinda self-explanatory?
    Thanks for providing a guide to PicMonkey newbs like myself. XD
    ~Grace ❤
    P.S. I'm making progress with your letters! 😀 The envelope is done (SO EXCITED) and your letter is complete…now I just need to add artwork to yours, write Megan's, and do the mandala today. 🙂


    1. Aww, yay! Thanks so much, Grace!
      Oh, no problem! That’s a good question. Yep, you click on the effect you want, (say, Teeth Whiten), and then you use the “brush” to paint the effect onto the area of the subject you’re fixing (like their teeth). For example, when you click on the “Teeth Whiten” effect, a menu pops up that has a slider for changing the size of your brush, as well as a slider for fading the effect. It also has an eraser to erase the effect if you need to. But yeah, you can figure out a lot just by playing around with it, too. 🙂
      Hee hee, no problem! My pleasure. 😀
      P. S. YAYAYAYAYAYAY! I cannot WAIT to see it! Eeee!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hooray, I’m so glad you liked it! Yeah! Hee hee, it was, wasn’t it? I don’t know if it had a name or not because it was a barn kitten. Actually I think we did name it, but I forget what it was… XD

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Augh, you’re such a good photographer! So is Megan. 🙂 I love these tips! They’re super helpful. What kind of camera would you recommend for a beginner? I’ve only taken pictures with my IPod Touch camera.


    1. Aww, thank you SO much, Audrey! And I’m so happy it was helpful!
      Ooh, ooh, I would recommend a Nikon Coolpix L830 (or L840). That was my old camera and I loved it to pieces. 🙂 It’s pretty user-friendly, and takes wonderful pictures! (That’s the camera Megan has now.)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You use Picmonkey too? They’re awesome. I like making custom effects. 🙂
    Love the bunny. I have two house bunnies. One is “helping” me type right now…


    1. Yes! Ooh I know, isn’t it fun? It’s like mixing up a new recipe or something. 🙂
      Hee hee, aww, I’ve always thought a house bunny would be so much fun! Is it a lot of work or not?


      1. It’s not really hard. It helps that both of them are litter box trained. That makes cleaning soooo much easier. The boy (Figaro) is currently living in my room, and I just let him out whenever I’m in there for something. Thumbelina (a girl, and she definitely thinks she’s a princess!) lives downstairs in our finished basement. She gets let out in the morning and evening, and we walk by and pet her often. The hope is to bond the two soon. Both are “fixed”. It’s a lot of fun waking up early and getting a bunny to snuggle in your bed with you.. 😉


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