4 Simple Tips for Editing Food Photos in Picmonkey.com

It's time to come really clean with you guys and tell you a little bit about my “professional” training:

I majored in Sociology (not photography, not journalism, and nothing culinary). My idea of a really nice camera was the itty-bitty Canon Power Shot my husband and I bought for our first anniversary. I had never heard the word “midtones” until about 6 months ago. I didn't know that the best natural light is in the shade until about 5 months ago. And I couldn't find my way around Photoshop or any other editing program if my life depended on it.

Which is why I love Picmonkey so much. Because despite all of my inadequacies in photography, Picmonkey is the online photo editing program that can make up the difference for my inexperience with a camera and editing software! As long as I can style a decent set and shoot sometime during daylight hours (although some hours will always be better than others), I can still make out with a pretty good looking photo without pulling my hair out trying to use some complicated program.

If you're a pro photog and could Photoshop these in your sleep, more power to ya! Color me impressed!But if you're like me, a novice photographer who doesn't have the time to take on a fancy pants editing program that costs your first born child, Picmonkey is for you. And this tutorial is for YOU!

Disclaimer: Results will vary depending on the original state of your photo. No amount of editing can fix a truly awful, horrible, no good photo. Always shoot in natural light, use a tripod if available, and use the highest quality camera you can get your hands on. I can only recommend this method for up-close food and product photography, as that is my only experience.

After uploading your photo into Picmonkey.com…

Original Photo

Step 1: Re-size the image for web use. I size the image down to 585px wide to fit the width of my post area. This makes it a lot easier to work with (otherwise editing may be sluggish) and makes for better quality edits .

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Step 2: Auto-adjust the Exposure. I know some people cringe at the term “auto-adjust.” But hey. That's me. I need all the auto-adjusting I can get. I've found that there are some elements of editing that simply cannot be auto-adjusted, but fortunately, exposure is not one of them. As long as you follow the next two steps, auto-fixing the exposure seems to work just fine.

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After the exposure auto-adjust. Not a huge visible difference yet.

Step 3: Use the Unsharp Mask to sharpen the image. [Shapen >> Unsharp mask] As you can see below, I set my Radius for 3, Strength for 50%, and Clarity for 3. You can play around with those numbers and see what works for you, but this is where mine is set for nearly every photo I post.

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After sharpening. It's starting to look a little better, but the next step will help you to really see the difference…

Step 4: Adjust the midtones in Curves. Simple curve the line in the Curves tool until you like the look of your photo. This is pretty standard for mine…

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After using Curves. You can see how the adjustment really opens up the photo and takes it to the next level.

And that's it!

Again, I want to reiterate that I acknowledge I'm no expert. So, please, no critics in the comment gallery if you don't mind. But my inexperience is the point of this post– if I can come up with a decent looking food photo, so can you.

Disclosure: Picmonkey.com is an official sponsor of Something Swanky and I do receive various forms of compensation from them. However, opinions are my own and I was not compensated for writing this post.