How To Edit Photos, Part 2: Adding Effects

How to Edit Photos, Part 2 (1280x1280) (800x800).jpg

Hello, my¬†friends! ūüėÄ

I’m so happy that you guys liked the first part of this series! (If you missed¬†Part 1¬†or would like to review it, click here.)¬†Are you ready for Part 2? Today I’m going to show you how to use some¬†beautiful and fun effects,¬†along with a few tips and tricks as well.

Again, I’m going to¬†be working with the¬†PicMonkey editing site, so go ahead and open that up on your web browser and choose the photo you want to edit. Last time we used the Basic Edits section of PicMonkey, but today we’re going to use the Effects tab. It’s represented as a little sparkly wand symbol on the left hand sidebar of the PicMonkey Editor, just below the Basic Edits tab.

Alrighty, let’s do this!

How to Add Effects

To be honest, I don’t use effects that terribly much, but there are a few very helpful¬†tools in¬†the effects section¬†of PicMonkey – and all of the effects¬†are just so fun to play with! I’m going to edit a picture and walk you through the steps so you can do it too.

Here’s our starting picture. ‚ô•


To begin with, I used the Focal /soften tool. This is a very useful effect, especially if you don’t have a DSLR or if your camera doesn’t allow you to adjust aperture. See, by adjusting the aperture to a smaller or lower f-stop, you can make the subject sharp and in focus¬†while the background is beautifully soft and blurry. Personally, I LOVE this effect, and so do a lot of other people. It looks professional. But if you take photos with your phone or a little pocket camera, it’s not easy to get a blurred background. But that’s why you’re here, my friends! ūüėČ Let me show you how…

First, find the “Focal Soften” Tab. It’s toward the bottom.


If you’re a little overwhelmed by all the different sliders, don’t worry! Trust me, it’s not as complicated as it looks.¬†I’m pretty sure you could all figure¬†it out by just playing around¬†with the¬†sliders, but in case you¬†want some more detailed information, here it is. ūüėČ

The Blur slider simply adjusts how soft or blurry it is around your subject. Tip: Be careful not to add too much blur or the effect will look fake. Focal size adjusts the size of the part of the photo which is sharp, or in focus. Edge Harden determines how distinct the edge is between the blurry and non-blurry parts of the photo. Tip: I suggest normally sliding the edge hardness to zero or close to zero. This provides a smoother, more natural transition. And lastly, the Fade slider controls how much of the whole effect, Focal Soften, shows up on your picture.

Okay, next I used the “Boost” effect.


Tip: A little “Boost” can go a long way. You will quickly see this if you play with the slider. I used 8% boost for my picture, just to make the colors more vibrant.

I also added a teensy bit of the HDR effect.


This is yet another effect to use sparingly – although it’s really fun to play with the sliders and create weird and wonderful¬†artistic effects. HDR is basically a more interesting, advanced form of the “Sharpen” tab in Basic Effects.

Lastly, I finished it off with another of my favorites: the Miniature effect.


Now, as you can see by that little yellow crown up there, this effect can only be used by Royale members. Like I mentioned in Part 1, Royale is an upgraded version of PicMonkey that gives you access to more effects, more graphics, and generally more features all around. I have Royale and I love it! You really get a lot of fun and useful stuff when you buy the package, including this Miniature effect. Tip: If you’re not sure whether to get Royale or not, you can always¬†try out¬†PicMonkey’s free trial!

Ahem, getting back to the effect… The Miniature effect is kind of like a combination of Focal Soften and Boost, but it’s a little different from either. For one thing, you can choose whether to make the focal shape linear or circular – in other words, make the in-focus part of the picture a rectangular section or a circular section. For landscapes and such, it works best to use the linear option, but for close-ups and individual objects, use circular. Adjust the Boost and Impact sliders to control the saturation¬†and blur of the effect respectively.

Alright, I’m finished! Here’s the before and after photo: (before on the left and right on the right side)

So pretty!

I’m going to go through these next photos a little faster now that you know basically how the effects work.

Black and White

The classic B&W. ūüôā I like to use this effect when 1.) my photos are cluttered or have a distracting background, and 2.) when I want the photo to have a special, nostalgic feel. PicMonkey seriously has like 7 different black and white effects, and they’re all a bit different. Tip: Start with classic Black and White, then add some toned-down¬†Super B&W or Tri-X to make your photo pop. If you use the Fade slider on Super B&W or Tri-X without first making the photo black and white, you’ll¬†end up with¬†a bunch of washed out colors instead of true black and white. Which, incidentally, is another neat editing technique of its own.

Here are some black and white photos I edited.


As you can tell,¬†this isn’t¬†completely black and white. If you click the little paintbrush symbol on the Black and White tab, a little menu with even more sliders pops up! Choose “Effect” at the top of the menu to paint on the effect you’re using, and “Original” to erase it off. I erased the black and white effect off of only the cupcakes here, for a fun pop of color.


This is an example of B&W used to create a nostalgic or special atmosphere. Black and white is great for preserving special memories or sweet moments like this. Isn’t is adorable? ‚ô• (By the way, the original picture was from this post.)



This is a VERY useful tool, but¬†sadly, it is a Royale feature. ūüė¶ Clone can be used to erase unwanted items right out of a picture – from power lines to trash – as long as the unwanted object is fairly small. Simply click on the part of the photo close to the unwanted object, and start erasing. This tool takes a bit of practice to master, but it is quite helpful once you do. Take this photo, for example:


Gorgeous Niagara Falls, right? And annoying blue people, huh? Well we can whisk those people far, far away with the Clone tool. Ta-daa!


Isn’t that amazing? I simply copied the bushes and rocks from around the people and painted over all that blue.

Other Tools and Tips

  • Two other very useful tools which I didn’t show are “Dodge” and “Burn.” Both are located at the bottom of the Effects page, and both require Royale membership to use. Use Dodge to brighten specific areas of your photo; use Burn to darken specific areas of your photo. Tip: Dodge is helpful when the face of your subject is dark or cast in shadow.
  • A really neat feature which PicMonkey added recently is the ability to create your own effect by layering other effects together. It’s a little button labeled “Save custom effect” up at the top of the Effects tab. But… you guessed it, it’s a Royale feature too. I actually don’t use it that much anymore, but it’s really fun to play with. ūüôā Tip:¬†Mix up your own custom¬†effect¬†to provide the photos for your blog or business with one cohesive (and personalized) look.
  • Be creative! I encourage you to try out all the effects in the tab and play around with the sliders.¬†Even if you don’t have Royale,¬†PicMonkey¬†at least lets¬†you¬†preview the Royale effects.
  • One last tip: have fun with editing, but don’t go overboard! Sometimes over-edited photos are much worse than the original.¬†Think of the¬†effects like make-up – use them to enhance your photo’s natural beauty, not¬†plaster them on¬†until your photo is unrecognizable and fake-looking. Unless, of course, you’re doing an artistic effect on purpose.

Phew! That was a lot to take in, but I hope you guys found it helpful! Let me know if you have any questions about that, and I’ll do my best to answer them. ūüôā

Have fun editing!


AAWC Challenge 3: Blue Eyes

Hey guys!¬†I hope you’re not getting tired¬†of contest entry posts. ūüė¶ I’ll hopefully do a photography post tomorrow. (I still have WAY too many photos to show you!)

Anywho, ¬†I‚Äôm participating in Misty‚Äôs¬†really fun¬†writing challenge, Aspiring Authors Writing Challenge, or AAWC for short. (Read about it here.) (And see my other entries here.)¬†The word prompt for this challenge was ‚ÄúBroken.‚ÄĚ I can collect¬†two extra points¬†for my team if I¬†work¬†my team mascot (I’m on Team Swan) into the story, so I did! (Although I just mentioned it a little bit – does that still count, Misty?)

I took a photo of my friend’s eye recently and super-edited it. I included it because it fits perfectly with the story. In fact, the photo was kind of like an extra prompt for me.

And now, I present…


Blue Eyes

mallory's eye.jpg

I am Nadia. I am average ‚Äď average height, average weight, average everything ‚Äď except for my eyes. They are blue. Blue like the sky of long ago, my grandparents tell me. And that is why I leave tomorrow.

Mati and Pati, my grandparents, often tell us¬†an old legend about our land back when it was bursting with color…

Our land was once beautiful and bountiful, the envy of every kingdom for miles around. But then the storm came. This was no puny rain shower; this was a storm. Dark gray clouds swept furiously across the sky, rumbling and grumbling with every step forward. They ripped themselves apart and drenched the land with their angry tears. It rained for days, then weeks, a long gray drizzle. Finally it stopped. Everyone rushed outside into the dimness, waiting for the sun to break through at last and turn the darkness into dancing, shining, living color again. But it never happened. The sun came out, true, but it was pale and peaked as if it had been through a long illness. It did not bring color with it. The storm had killed the color, crushed it, and shattered it. Ever since there has been no color in our land.

Besides the blue of my eyes, these are the only colors I know: black like midnight without stars, white like the swan that eats our breadcrumbs tossed into the lake, and the infinite shades and tints of gray in between. My eyes are the only spots of color in our otherwise colorless land. Our world is broken and no one can fix it.

Except for… me.

My grandparents always tell me at the end of their story, ‚ÄúYou are the only one¬†who can mend our broken land with your blue, blue eyes. You are the only one who can keep color alive.‚ÄĚ

So I leave tomorrow, after I turn ten years old. I will make the long journey over the gray mountains alone, and I will bring color home. I remember exactly what I must do: I must fill my cupped hands to overflowing with color, and carry my precious burden carefully homeward, sustaining the color and keeping it alive with occasional glances from my blue eyes through the colorless grayness. I must bring healthy color home, and lay it gently on the ground. Then, Mati and Pati say that the color will take root like a flower, and grow and spread throughout the land until at last, there will be dancing, shining, living color again.

That is my mission: to mend my broken land with my blue, blue eyes. And I will carry it out.


I am terribly¬†glad that our world is not like Nadia’s! Wouldn’t it be so sad if God hadn’t made our world colorful? (Well, of course we wouldn’t know any better then, but still…)

I hope you enjoyed reading this! Have a colorful day!


Happy Easter! + Spring Photos

Happy Easter, everyone! Christ has risen!

happy easter collage

easter poster 1easter poster 2

I thought I’d show you a few Easter-y springy pictures too. ūüôā Spring is like the year’s resurrection – the old bare trees and brown grass come to life again. Christ’s resurrection is infinitely more amazing and wondrous than spring is or ever will be, but in the new birth of spring perhaps we have a miniscule, faint¬†taste of the joy which¬†we will experience at¬†Christ’s return!

So with that, enjoy this humongous spring collage. ūüôā (Click on any photo to bring up an enlarged slideshow thingy of all of the photos.)

Once again, HAPPY EASTER!


Quote Edits

I’ve been using this great photo-editing site (PicMonkey)¬†to make quote¬†edits recently. It is SO much fun! PicMonkey has some great fonts, but¬†my sister told me¬†about another website (1,001 Free Fonts), that has gazillions more free fonts, so I also used some of those.

All of these edits were made by me, from pictures taken and edited by me. The quotes are either verses from the Bible, quotes from Pinterest, or part of the lyrics songs or hymns.


#1. This is one of my favorites of the edits I made. When the world is storm-tossed all around you, cling to the Rock that stands strong above the storm.

quotes 3.4 (1280x960)

#2. Stop and smell the roses – take time to enjoy the little pleasures around you. (Picture from this photoshoot.)

quotes 4 (1280x960)

#3. I love this verse, and the ones that go with it. Why should we worry when God holds all of creation in his hand? The third and fourth edit are consecutive verses, so they go together.

quotes 5 (1280x960)

#4. (Picture from this post.)

quotes 6 (1209x907)

#5. Always look on the bright side. Find the blessings in disguise.

quotes 10 (1280x960)

#6. Kind words are as pleasing as honey. Or more so! (This picture was from my “Bee Tree” post.)

quotes 8 (1280x960)

#7. From the Doxology…

quotes 2 (1280x960)

#8. Great things can come from small deeds.

quotes 9.3 (960x1280)

#9. From the song “Waterfall,” by Chris Tomlin.

quotes 1 (1280x960)

#10. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made the whole wide world.

quotes 7 (1280x960)


I hope you enjoyed reading those quotes – I enjoyed making them! Which was your favorite?

A lot of those pictures came from a big Western trip my family made in 2013 – some more of those pictures may show up in a “Photos from of Old” post. ūüôā


P. S. The first WordCrafters story is finally finished! (At almost 10,000 words o.O :D) You can read it here. It’s a wonderful story – thank you SO much everyone, for participating!!

P. P. S. I know I haven’t been posting much about Farm Life, but the fact is, not many post-worthy farm things happen in winter. I suppose you’ll have to make do with photoshoots and stories and tutorials until spring. ūüôā There’s a clay tutorial coming up soon!

PicMonkey Mosaics Tutorial

I have been having a LOT of fun recently making “quilts” on PicMonkey. Of course, you can’t really make quilts on a photo editing program – they are really more like photo mosaics.

I started with a few simple photos of colored corrugated cardboard, like this:

-Allison(gnome photostory) 007.JPG


and combined and multiplied and rotated and collaged¬†them a bunch of times in a bunch of ways, to make mosaics! Here is one of the “quilts” I made¬†just using¬†PicMonkey and four different pictures of corrugated cardboard:

picmonkey finished quilt (3) (1280x1280)

Isn’t it so neat? I don’t really like the colors, but I like the design. Since they are so fun to make, I decided to share the fun with you too! Here is a sort-of-kind-of tutorial¬†on how to make photo mosaics.


You can take your own pictures, or use any of these “quilt patches”¬†below that I already made. (But please don’t use any¬†of my other¬†pictures without my permission. ūüôā ) Just right click the pictures you want, and save them to your computer.

picmonkey quilt square - blue (1) (1280x1280)picmonkey quilt square - yellow (1) (1280x1280)picmonkey quilt square - brown (2) (1280x1280)picmonkey quilt 1 (1280x1280)picmonkey quilt patch 2.1 (1280x1280)

picmonkey quilt patch 1.2 (1280x1280)

picmonkey quilt patch 1 (1280x1280)

picmonkey quilt patch 2 (1280x1280)




























picmonkey finished quilt (2) (1280x1280)picmonkey finished quilt (1) (1280x1280)








Go to¬†PicMonkey, hover over the ‘Collage’ button at the top of the page, choose ‘Computer’ and open the photos you want to use for your “quilt.” Click the ‘Layouts’ symbol on the left sidebar, click ‘Square Deal,’ and choose one of the last two options. The more squares the layout has, the more complicated and interesting the quilt can be!picmonkey tutorial 1

Click and drag the “quilt patches” to the squares, and rotate them to make all sorts of interesting patterns! (See¬†this¬†mirroring tutorial on the PicMonkey blog for more details on how to rotate images.) You can use ‘Auto Fill’ (at the top bar) to make interesting patterns without much work. (You have to click ‘Auto Fill’ a couple of times until the quilt is filled up with squares.)

picmonkey tutorial 3

And ta-daa! This is a quilt I made by auto-filling like in the picture above.

picmonkey finished quilt (11).jpg

Here are some more “quilts” I made.

picmonkey finished quilt (4) (1280x1280)picmonkey finished quilt (9) (1280x1280)mosiac fish (600x330)

picmonkey finished quilt (6) (1280x1280)picmonkey quilt square - brown (1) (1280x1280)picmonkey finished quilt (10) (1280x1280)picmonkey quilt orange 3 (2) (1280x1280)

I really wish I took pictures of prettier-colored cardboard, because the colors don’t really go together in the quilts, but it’s really fun anyway.

I hope you enjoyed this random post, and tell me if you make any “quilts!”


Photos From of Old: Entry #1

My sister Megan did a post about stories from of old that she had wrote when she was little, and I think I’m going to do a series about photos that I either took before I had a blog (*gasp!*), or photos that never made it into posts. This first entry was way back when we had a litter of adorable kittens to play with in the chicken house. And the first picture is a random bluebird. I also edited¬†two of the pictures¬†on PicMonkey just for fun.

Allison 2013-2-12 043 (1280x972)

Allison 2013-2-12 061 (1280x960)Allison 2013-2-12 058 (1280x960)Allison 2013-2-12 067 (1280x960)

And the edited ones:


picmonkey 2

Which picture was your favorite? Would you like me to continue this series or not?