How to Edit Your School Pictures in PicMonkey

In case you missed my post on DIY School Pictures last week, here’s a little plug for our challenge. I want you to take your own picture of your child for their school picture and submit them to me so I can post them and show everyone your beautiful photographic skills. Upload your before and after photos by September 15, and I’ll post them in one massive (let’s hope!) post. HERE is the Flickr group where you will submit the photos. If you’d rather just email me the pictures, send them to humbleinaheartbeat (at) gmail (dot) com.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (I’ve put a * by any link that is an affiliate link). If you click on one of these links and you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission from your purchase. Thank you for supporting Humble in a Heartbeat!

In this post, I will show you the picture I took of my daughter (actually, my husband ended up taking it), as well as the steps I took to edit the picture in PicMonkey*.

In a matter of 36 minutes, my husband and I shot 321 pictures of our girls for their “school” pictures. Impressive. Or is it?

I went through and deleted 100 of them right off the bat due to normal issues or criteria I list HERE.

The hardest part was choosing just one for this project. But I did it, and I hope going through this little editing tutorial will help you with your pictures.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

 1. Upload your SOOC (straight out of camera) picture to PicMonkey*

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

 2. Crop the picture if you wish. I decided to just make it an 8 x10 size, but there are other sizes to choose from. Click apply when you are satisfied.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

3. Adjust the colors using the neutral picker. I clicked on the neutral picker button under “Colors” and then clicked on her white shirt. This adjusted the temperature to 42. Or, you could just adjust the colors how you would like or even click “auto adjust”. Click apply.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

4. Adjust the exposure to your liking. I don’t use “auto adjust”, but you certainly can. I just start with “brightness” and work my way down to “contrast” and tweak until I’m satisfied with each one. Click apply.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

5. Sharpen the picture if you want. I don’t like to overdo it on sharpening, but I think it helps sometimes. I don’t like to make it look unnatural. Click apply.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

6. Do anything you want to the picture now. I personally just wanted to add a very subtle dark edge. Adjust the size, intensity, and fade as you wish. Click apply.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

7. Normally, I don’t even touch curves, but I decided to try it on this picture. I changed the first drop-down to “Flash Fill” and put it at 83%. It didn’t make a huge difference, but I think it helped in her face a bit.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkey

8. Now you can add an overlay if you wish. I added the logo that I put on some of my pictures.

Editing School Pictures in PicMonkeyAnd there you have it! The SOOC picture was a good picture in composition and the fact that she’s actually looking at the camera with a sweet expression. The edited picture makes it much easier to look at and maybe hang on the wall or print out little wallet sizes to give to family 🙂

Now I’d like to go down the list of tips I gave you on the DIY School Pictures post, and see how we did with this photo:

  • Check for Choose a day: We took the pictures on the weekend when we didn’t have work and other stuff happening
  • Missed the mark for Let your kid choose her own outfit: She’s only two. What do you want from me? 😉
  • Check for Do your child’s hair: I did her hair that morning thinking we were going to get the pictures before lunch. We ended up doing them after nap and snack, so her hair is done, but it’s definitely not perfect. It’s rather…natural. 🙂
  • Check for Take the pictures outside: We went to the park, and the building behind her was just a random utility building, I think.
  • Missed the mark for Do silly stuff behind the camera to get her to smile: I was taking care of Bella, while César was taking pictures of Sofía, so he just kept shooting pictures and got this one where she is smiling (not extreme, but natural).
  • Check for Don’t use the flash on your camera: The only time I use the flash on our Nikon is when we’re taking pictures indoors at night. Otherwise, I try and use all the natural light I can. You can see that the picture turned out really dark, but editing compensated for that.
  • Check for Let your child do their own poses: We didn’t really tell Sofía what to do. She just did it and César caught her in action.
  • Check for Don’t include a lot of background: This picture didn’t have anything distracting in the background because it’s just a wall, but we had to be careful about other shots we got since there were people, cars, and the playground around.
  • Check for Edit them: So far, I’ve only edited this picture, but I plan on editing a few more before September 15 so I have a few to choose from and then print out.
  • Missed the mark for Get them printed: I plan on printing them once I have a few to choose from.

Seven out of ten is not bad! I can’t wait to start seeing your photos!

Are you familiar with PicMonkey* or some other editing software?

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  1. The difference is amazing! Great tutorial!!
    Leilani recently posted…Operation Underground Railroad, what it is and how you can helpMy Profile

  2. I usually edit them in Photoshop although I do love Picmonkey. It’s great, no, it’s amazing for the price; but I do have Photoshop as part of my job so I am used to it. I will work on those pictured this weekend!
    Ana Lynn recently posted…Quick And Easy White Beans And Rice RecipeMy Profile

    • I used to use photoshop a lot, but it was when I was living at home and my dad had it on his computer. I’ve had a few free trials, but now I’m left to GIMP and PicMonkey (I haven’t tried many others). I prefer PicMonkey over GIMP most of the time. Can’t wait to see how yours turn out, Ana!

  3. Everyone is using PicMonkey these days! This is a great tutorial. I need to get my “school” picture shot! Or at least set up a reminder to remind me. Your daughter is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE
    Rebecca recently posted…List: 6 Reasons Why I Won’t Blog For FreeMy Profile

    • Well, it’s only like the coolest thing every, don’t you know? 😉 She totally gets that cuteness from her Papi. I had nothing to do with it. Except the hair. 🙂

  4. Love this! I am a huge fan of PicMonkey and I edit all of my photos over there for my blog. This was super cute, and that’s hilarious that you took over 300 photos for her back to school pics, lol! I know how that goes, I’m always doing the same! Thank goodness for digital cameras.
    Jessica Dimas recently posted…Five on Friday + KitchenAid GiveawayMy Profile

  5. Wow you did a wonderful job! 🙂 She is ADORABLE! 🙂 I like picmonkey and didn’t realize it could go this indepth.
    Becka recently posted…Happy, Sad, Cray Cray, and Mad – Facial Emotions Activity for PreschoolersMy Profile

    • Oh, thank you so much! I just love her round face 🙂 I’m glad you learned something from the tutorial, Becka!

  6. I love these tips! I knew about a few of these features, but am new to some of them! I need to upgrade to a royal membership. I was playing with the curves feature and it is amazing! But I need to upgrade! 🙁
    Brandi recently posted…Traveling With 2 Under 2: Our Packing ListMy Profile


  1. […] also have a few photos to share with you! I already shared the first one on THIS post, but I wanted to show you a picture of both of my girls and then one of Bella. I am very […]

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