How to Edit a Food Photo in PicMonkey
I used PicMonkey for years to edit all my photos including the ones in my recipe posts. I loved how user friendly it was and also how it was an affordable way for me to improve my photos without breaking the bank. I use Lightroom now to edit my photos because I shoot in RAW, but I wanted to share my process for editing food photos in PicMonkey for people who are just getting started in editing or want to learn some new tips and tricks.
I took an older photo I had on my site to show you some small tweaks you can do in PicMonkey to improve the photo. This was the original photo of my Lasagna Soup. It’s super dark and has a weird cast to it. Plus, you can see my reflection in the spoon. It’s not a terrible photo, but it does need some TLC.
The first thing I do is to decide whether or not I want to crop the photo so that it’s more pleasing to the eye. The grid lines in PicMonkey help you to follow the rule of thirds. If your photo is crooked, straighten it with the Rotate tool found in Basic Edits.
Next, I resize the photo changing the width so that it fits my blog post. Make sure Keep proportions is always checked.
My original photo was a little dark so I bumped up the brightness in Curves. I take a middle point and move it upwards on the graph until it gets to somewhere I’m comfortable with. For more info about Curve’s, check out this Curves tutorial.
If you find your white balance is off, click Colors in Basic edits. Adjust the temperature until you find it starts looking more natural and “true white”.
Under Exposure, I play around with Shadows and Contrast to brighten up the photo further.
Dodge is a handy tool to brighten up dark spots in your photo without affecting everything and possibly blowing it out. It’s found under Effects (the magic wand) towards the bottom of the list. Select Light and adjust brush size as needed depending on how big of an area you want to lighten. Then go over the dark spots and watch them naturally lighten up. Check out this Dodge tutorial on PicMonkey.
I love crisp, clean photos so I usually always adjust sharpening (and sometimes clarity). Be very careful to not oversharpen or over clarify or you will end up with pixelated, grainy photos.
Lastly, if you discover something in your photo that shouldn’t be there like a stray crumb, cat hair (it’s happened to me…) or your reflection in the silverware, use the clone tool in Effects to hide it. Check out this helpful clone tutorial if you need more assistance using it.
After all the above edits, here is my final version. It’s brighter, cleaner and sharper. The best part is that these edits didn’t take me long to do. I didn’t time myself, but I’d be shocked if they took me longer than 10 minutes to do them all. With practice, you’ll become faster as you hone your workflow.
You’ll need the premium version of PicMonkey to access a few of these features. It’s affordable though at less than $4 a month. I’ve had it a few years now and still use it for text overlays and collages.
What do you use to edit your photos?
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