Graphics. Anyone familiar with Photoshop can whip up a graphic in 5 hot minutes. I am NOT familiar with 99.7% of Photoshop, but… I still love to play around with graphics so… I wanted to share a couple of my tricks for adding text, creating graphics, and generally sassing up my images.
The biggest thing I use isn’t so much a trick as it is a tool. Ever heard of PicMonkey? It’s a free online resource for adding text and other fun effects and pictures to your images. I only learned about this site a year or so ago. At first I was like Augustus Gloop in the candy factory and got waaaaay carried away. Say it with me folks, LESS IS MORE.
On PicMonkey, you can add color effects, add text, add borders, create fun labels with text to sit on top of your images, create collages… there’s pretty much a way to do anything.
PicMonkey Party Trick #1: How to take an image and make it circular. For whatever reason, I use this a lot. Here’s a screen grab from a site I helped my friend Michelle put together:
1. Start with a square image.
2. Go down to the Frames menu. Select the second option: Rounded corners.
3. Drag your corner radius all the way to the right and then check the box right beneath that says “Transparent Corners”. There. You’ve made a circle. For those of you who have websites or might be bloggers… I will often create a circular image like this and then add a custom URL so that this circle effectively becomes a clickable link to another part of my site.
PicMonkey Party Trick #2: Having fun with overlays. A recent addition to PicMonkey that I’m loving is the ability to add your own overlays or text. Adding an overlay can be a more interesting way to create a collage. The images you choose to overlay won’t appear quite as rigid as they might if you were just dropping them into a right angular collage layout. I also used this fun little feature to make this image that will probably win me a photo award one day (you can follow me on IG while you’re at it!). To make something similar, add an overlay of one photo onto another.
Then select the eraser and carefully erase around your main image. You’re not going to get a super smooth line here, but it’s close enough.
PicMonkey Party Trick #3: Text. PicMonkey has lots of great fonts, but… now that you can add your own font, game ON. Wanna know how to add fun fonts to your computer’s font library to use forever and ever? It’s so easy. (I’m on a Mac so for you PC users, it might be completely different. Sorry.) First figure out what font you want. Head over to Pinterest or just google something like “free font”. There are LOTS of sites that will come up and lots of ways to narrow down what you want. Font that looks like handwriting? Font that looks old fashioned? Font that looks clean and simple? Again… I typically start on Pinterest and then go from there.
Most of the sites have pages and pages of fonts, with a “Download” button next to each one.
When you click “download”, the font file will pop up right in your Downloads folder. (I downloaded the Copy-Paste font.)
Find the Library Folder on your hard drive. This is usually where your Fonts folder lives.
Once you’ve found this folder, simply drag the specific .ttf file with the font from your downloads folder right on in. (Some font downloads come with a whole set of options: bold, italic, etc. If that’s the case, just drag each of these into the Fonts folder.)
And you did it! You have just added bright and shiny new fonts to your computer. You can now use these fonts whenever you need? Including on PicMonkey next time you want to add graphics or text to an image.
I feel like I’ve come a long way with my photo labels. I had MANY early attempts that were just too much. They distracted from the image in my opinion. They were all too different meaning my images had no cohesion. For a blog that’s really important. I have a brand and I want that brand to be clean and evident. Not cray cray and all over the place.
Finally, PicMonkey Party Trick #3: Custom color selection. Sometimes scrolling around the color bar just doesn’t quite cut it. So here’s how you can find a custom color to match a precise tone in your image. This works for text, overlays, frames… anything where you need to select a color. See that rectangle next to the color box? Click in it.
Your arrow cursor will now look like a dropper. Drag this over the color you want to select in your image and boom: there it is in your color window!
Now my text (with my own personal downloaded font) matches my photo perfectly.
The only issue with PicMonkey is that once you create an image and leave the site, you can’t truly go back and edit. So a label from 3 weeks ago that needs tweaking just has to be recreated. And that can be a drag. Incentive #246 to LEARN PHOTOSHOP!
One last site I use on occasion is Olio Board. I use this for my Gift Guides mostly. Olio Board has about a million features that I don’t even bother with, but it’s a great place to plan spaces and include product placement because they can link an image to the website. I upload images I’ve gathered from around the web and then plop them onto a board. With Olio Board I can rotate my images, layer them, easily play around with the size, and remove the background isolating the image itself (sometimes… depends on the image). I still have to add labels in PicMonkey, but I find Olio Board to be a little more fluid than PicMonkey. (But that could be old habit because the image overlay feature of PicMonkey might actually do exactly the same thing as Olio Board…) Options!
There you have it… some tips and tricks for making your photos a little more fun and fancy-free. Can anyone talk me over the Photoshop hump? Where should I start?!
Don't miss a post! Sign up for email or RSS updates!