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With a simple tried and tested method, you can come up with decent images for your blog posts, bad image editing skills notwithstanding.

Let’s face it. Not everyone is interested (or good) in areas like photography, design, and image editing. But many of us still need to work with images on a regular basis, because they form the core of the visual nature of the Web.

If finding and editing images sounds like a dreadful chore to you, here are four steps that you can follow to make the process less painful, and still end up with good images to use in blog posts and other places. PicMonkey, an awesome online photo editor Don't Install An Image Editor: Try These Cloud-Based Photo Editors Instead Don't Install An Image Editor: Try These Cloud-Based Photo Editors Instead If you want to get really good results, you need to download some kind of graphics software or other editing app, and put it through its paces. But now, you can do most of your... Read More , is all you need.

picmonkey-home

1. Find A Base Image

There are various websites that provide free high-res images 5 Easy Ways To Grab Free High Resolution Stock Images With Your Email 5 Easy Ways To Grab Free High Resolution Stock Images With Your Email Finding a great photo isn't that hard. Using that perfect photo can also come without sweat and cost. The five sources here ease your hunt because you simply subscribe to them with an email. Read More . Compfight is my favorite. While some images are perfect enough to be used without editing, many of them require surface tweaks to make them suitable for your use. If you begin with a good image, your work is half done.

Choose an image that is appropriate for the given context and complements the accompanying text. Ensure that its dimensions are higher than, or at least equal to, what you need for the final image. Do pay attention to the copyright licenses for details about usage and attribution. If you need help with image selection, read Jessica’s tips for finding the right images 7 Tricks To Help You Find The Right Images For Your Blog Posts 7 Tricks To Help You Find The Right Images For Your Blog Posts It can be tough to come up with feature images to go with blog posts if your forte is not in art or design. These tips will help you. Read More for your blog posts. For demonstration purposes, I downloaded the following image from MorgueFile.

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little-girl-original-image

2. Get The Dimensions Right

Open the PicMonkey website, click on Edit in the top bar, and select the image that you want to edit. This will open PicMonkey’s Basic Edits tab, which has everything that you need for the minimal editing we’ll be discussing here.

picmonkey-edit-photo

The first thing you’ll want to do is crop the image to remove any unwanted sections, and resize the image to the final dimensions you require. If and when you’re cropping the image, ensure that it does not become smaller than the target size, and does not lose any important visual information.

picmonkey-basic-edits-tab

The image I chose was 1128×1413 in size, and my target size was 640×480. I cropped the image to get rid of the black iPad frame and bring the image nearer to the landscape dimensions I had in mind.

I resized the resulting image till the width was 640 px, letting the height scale automatically. The image ended up being 640×541 in dimension. Then I recropped it, maintaining the width at 640 px, and chopping off a portion of the image till the height reduced to 480 px. Here’s how that turned out.

little-girl-cropped-image

3. Transform The Look & Feel

Now it’s time to enhance the look and feel of the image if required. Sometimes, PicMonkey’s Auto Adjust feature comes in handy and makes the image look just right, in a single click. But more often than not, you end up with an image that is either too bright or too dark. When I used Auto Adjust on the above image, the result was not so good (as you can see below).

little-girl-auto-adjusted-image

It’s better to skip this feature and adjust the Exposure settings instead. Slowly, just a fraction at a time, adjust the fours sliders — Brightness, Highlights, Shadows, Contrast — till you’re happy with the visual results.

little-girl-brighter-image

4. Tweak Some More (Or Not)

PicMonkey’s Basic Edits tab has a few more options: Rotate, Colors, and Sharpen. With the Rotate feature, you can flip the photo, rotate it, or straighten it as you see fit. Using the Colors option, you can make the colors of the image appear sharper and more saturated. If the image appears blurred, Sharpen can help bring it back into focus. Mind you, these features must be used with care, and only if necessary. Making minor adjustments often gives better results than dragging the sliders from one end to the other recklessly.

For the above image, I increased the saturation level marginally, and this is the result.

little-girl-final-image

If you’re feeling confident enough, you can experiment with features like filters and effects. But even without those advanced edits, your image should be in much better shape than before. Save it in the png or jpg format (it’s important to know the suitable image format Know When to Use Which File Format: PNG vs. JPG, DOC vs. PDF, MP3 vs. FLAC Know When to Use Which File Format: PNG vs. JPG, DOC vs. PDF, MP3 vs. FLAC When the Internet was small and young, file formats were pretty much limited to image types and media file types that the browsers of the time could handle. At the very beginning, text was almost... Read More ), and it’s ready for use.

Get, Set, Upload

Most image editors provide similar options more or less, and you can use any of them instead of PicMonkey. Armed with this easy-to-use technique, you’ll find that image editing is not all that bad. For all you know, you might even be tempted to learn a few advanced tricks such as creating a photo series How To Turn Random Snapshots Into A Uniform-Looking Photo Series How To Turn Random Snapshots Into A Uniform-Looking Photo Series A few tricks can save you hours of editing in Photoshop. Let's say you want to combine a random set of photos into a harmonious series. How about taking a creative shortcut? Read More from random snapshots, or giving photos a vintage look Make Your Digital Photos Look Like They Were Taken with Kodak's First Camera Make Your Digital Photos Look Like They Were Taken with Kodak's First Camera If you want your photos to look just like they were taken with Kodak's iconic debut camera, all it takes is a mobile app or two to reproduce the vintage look. Read More .

Do you have any tricks to make basic image editing simpler and better? Share them in the comments.

Image Credits: The featured image is a derivative of martinak15 via Compfight cc, ipad.001 by 3rdworldman via MorgueFile

  1. mike power
    July 13, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    You have to remember that if your image is being used in a post, as opposed to having a permanent place on your page, it is going to have to make an immediate impact. Your reader is not going to be spending too much time on it so it may well be justified, in some cases, to over edit for maximum effect.

  2. In Space
    July 9, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Many times I've edited a photo and later been horrified at how artificial and overdone it looks. I've since learned to be always subtle and avoid unnecessary tweaking. I still see magazine covers which are grossly 'shopped to the point of comedy - done by people who should know better. I think spending too long on a particular image leads to a sort of blindness which compounds with every tweak.
    Thanks for the article.

  3. In Space
    July 7, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Lots of people overdo it with image editing. Just getting the exposure, white-balance, contrast and sharpness right, is good enough in most cases (except for old and faded images).
    Once you edit a photo, don't look at it for a day or two, as often you'll later see the mistakes you became blind to during the editing process.

    • Akshata
      July 9, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Returning to the image after a day or two sounds like a good idea. It works for writing. Should work for image editing too :) Thanks for the tip!

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