When I started my Bookstagram I couldn’t help but envy all my friends who had beautiful crisp photos with white backgrounds. I tried everything to make really pretty photos, but I didn’t start seeing good results until I tried PicMonkey online photo editing. I cannot for the life of me remember who recommended this amazing tool but I use PicMonkey not only for photo editing but also to make graphics for advertising for my shop. This web tool has a website for the computer which is very powerful as well as an app version.
The great thing about PicMonkey is you can try all the features for free and then get one yearly fee to their basic subscription or pay a small monthly to get access to their program.
Click the link above to get a free trial and then do the walk through tutorial with me to see how I edit my photos!
This is a photo I took last week in my condo. I have a vinyl background that I bought from a company that is now out of business but there are lots of companies that sell backgrounds in vinyl and paper. I got vinyl which is pricey compared to paper but its very durable. Beginner Pro-Tip : get a white foam board or two from a craft store for an easy, clean background
So this picture was taken after 2 plus years of practicing. So if you are new, practice! You will get it. Getting lighting really makes a difference. I take pictures near an open window or with box lights (you can get them on Amazon for $50 to $80 which is worth the investment if you are trying to run a business or become a marketing rep for a company )
The first step is to click the button that says “edit a new image” and then open the file you want. This should look like this once the photo is open.
You will see on the left hand side all the photo editing tools as well as touch ups, text and image layering and texture adding. Along the top and you can use the share and export buttons. The first thing I use is the crop tool at the top with the pictures of the scissors.
I crop out the edges that don’t give much to the photo and center what I want the picture to focus on. For this photo that is the book, Fangirl, and the bookmark. Once you have the proportions that you think look best you hit the apply button and the rest of the photo you cropped out will disappear. This is also good if you want to crop to a perfect Instagram square.
Usually I don;t need to use any of the other canvas edit tools. Occasionally, I do have to use the image rotation but I don’t have to recolor my photos.
Next come the basic edits which can be the most useful of the tools in PicMonkey. Exposure is going to help you touch up your lighting. Colors can help you if you get those yellowy colored photos from indoor lighting and sharpen can help you focus up text in your photos if it is a little out of focus.
For the Exposure you have 4 basic sliding scale options set to 0% to play with. I always ignore that first one labeled Brightness even though if you are a newbie editor this would seem like the right choice to brighten your photo. The problem with this is that is washes out your colors. Use the other three. For my photos its always a little different but I usually increase highlights, decrease shadows, and very slightly increase contrast.
So as you can see for this photo, I increased the highlights by 98%, decreased the shadows by -15% and increased the contrast by 15%. Already, the bookmark and book are “popping” more off the background.
The next tool is colors. This one is a little more tricky to balance but it helps make your whites look white and your colors stay true in your picture.
You can usually use the auto-adjust for this and it does a good job. The white balance picker helps you balance your photo almost automatically or you can play with the temperature and tint. The most common photo problems I see on Bookstagram is the color being yellow from indoor lighting, That Temperature balance could help make the indoor lighting look a little more natural in photos.
For this photo I actually felt that the Temperature and Tint were a little cool and I wanted to make the pinks look more true to color so I turned up the Temperature and Tint a little bit. I also like my photos o be vibrant and fully saturated in color so I also turned up those two settings. This is a drastic difference now from the original photo.
For this last setting, Sharpen, you have to be careful not to over sharpen and make it look overdone. I turn up the strength and clarity just a little bit to make the lines and text a little sharper for this and then this is usually where my photo editing is done for Bookstagram photos.
Here is a side by side of the before and after:
What other tutorials would you like for bookstagram photos??
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