Without a doubt, we want to be catching people’s eye on social media. And I have good news – you don’t have to be a graphic designer to create great photos and graphics anymore!
Thankfully, we live in an era where there are a ton of programs out there to make the process a little more SIMPLE.
One of my favorite programs is PicMonkey.
This program offers the perfect blend of plenty of design options and flexibility without getting overly complicated.
Here’s a quick HOW TO on making a graphic with PicMonkey.
When you first go to PicMonkey.com, you can get started right away with a 30 day free trial to see what you think.
After that, they have 2 pricing options, Premium & Supremium. The Premium option is $5.99/mo (if billed annually) or $7.99/mo (if billed monthly). The Supremium option is $8.99/mo. The features are similar between the 2, except that you get “Hub storage” for 50 images with the Premium, and unlimited Hub storage with the Supremium. Hub storage is handy because your design is saved “unflattened.” Meaning, you can open it back up and continue editing. Whereas if you only had them saved on your computer, they would not be easily editable anymore.
I recommend creating a couple of graphics for free first and testing whether this is the photo service for you. I personally do plenty of my graphics in PicMonkey and pay for the Supremium plan. I feel like that’s pretty cheap spread over the year!
Okay, on to the tutorial!
Step #1: Find a great photo.
Depending on what you are promoting, you will need a great photo. Perhaps you already have one of your product or service. If not, you can get free stock photos on several websites. Or if you’re ready for a stock photo service that I love, head over to Haute Stock and see what you think of their photos!
Step #2: Click on the “Design” option.
If you are creating a graphic for social media, honestly I wouldn’t get hung up on your pixels or size. On Instagram you can now show square or most sizes of rectangle photos. My experience is that as long as it’s not some weird long length, social media sites usually work it out and show the whole thing!
That being said, you may be creating graphics for a specific size (such as on your website or blog). You can also customize the size or pixels of the photo if you’d like.
Just click the basic “design” button at the top, and you are now in the design dashboard.
The tools on the far right are the menus that you will use in this process. You will get more familiar with what’s found in each one as we go along.
Step #3: Import your photo.
Click on “Open New” at the top, and choose a photo from your computer (or any other place that you have it saved.)
Step #4: Crop around it.
Go to the very top menu on the far left. (it’s a little sliders icon). These are your “Basic Edits”
Select “Crop.” Adjust your highlighted box around your image and select the “Apply” button on the right. Here’s another time where you can select a certain image size if you would like to be specific.
Step #5: Add your text.
Click on the “Tt” icon on the far left. This is where all your text options live.
You can now select a font and add text to your photo.
My tip: just add your text in any font, and then try out different fonts after it’s already on the photo. I can never imagine what the font will look like until I see it there!
Click on the “Add text” button at the top of the fonts list. Click in the “Type your Text here” box, and type your text.
Another tip: You can move that pop-up box of text options out of your way by dragging it around.
Step #6: Edit your text.
You may see right away that your text would look better if it were white instead of the default black. You can do this by highlighting the text, and then in the text options pop-up box, there is a slider under “Color.” It’s down on black, slide it UP to white. You could also select any other color, I tend to stick with black or white for text.
You can now play around with fonts and size of text. Highlight your text and try out several different fonts. One thing I really like about PicMonkey is that it keeps your “recent” fonts used at the top. This way if you try some out and think, “What was that one I used a minute ago that I liked?” it’s right up there at the top.
You’ll find common text editing options in that pop-up box, such as size, justification (right/center/ left). Play around with them. Move your text box around until you like where it is.
You also have the option of making more text boxes. This allows you to use different fonts, have them on different portions of your photo, etc. Just click the “Add text” box again to do this.
Step #7: Add a “shadow” overlay behind the text if needed.
Sometimes when you are using a certain photo, there’s not an obvious place for text. Or sometimes what’s behind your text is too eye-catching and you need to make your text more readable.
This is easily fixed in PicMonkey. (In fact, this is one of my favorite tricks.)
Go to the butterfly icon on the far left. This is your Overlays. For now, select the “Geometric” box, but you could use any shape.
Select a simple rectangle or square. Something that’s about the shape of your text box.
It just slaps a black shape on your photo. Position it over your text and stretch it out so that it covers all of your text.
Control-click on the black shape, and select “Send to back” in the pop-up box. Your text is now on top of the box.
Now, go to the “Overlay” pop-up box that’s on your page. Under the word “Fade,” play with the slider. This makes your shape more or less opaque so that you can now see your text!
You can add a hint of the shape, or more if needed so that your text is easy to read.
Also, you can change the color of the box, if your text is black, for example, you may want a white box.
Step #8: Add some final touches to the graphic.
Now’s the time to add some final touches and make your graphic look really great.
An easy way to do this is with some basic filters.
Go to the “wand” icon on the far left. This brings up a list of “Effects.” Click through some of them and see what they do to your photo.
Many of them are great! I love the “Urbane” effect and use it pretty often. You can also adjust each effect after you click on them. For example, in the Urbane effect, you can adjust the “fade” which is the amount of shadowing around the border.
Another way to tweak your graphic is with the sliders icon on the far left. Here you can click on the “Colors” and increase the saturation for deeper colors. You can play with the “Exposure” and brighten up the photo, etc.
Don’t obsess over this process. There’s no perfect way to make your graphic look. It’s up to you!
Step #9: Save your graphic.
If you click on “Save” in the top bar of PicMonkey, it will save the project to the Hub. This is an unflattened project, so later you can always come back and edit parts of it, change the text, etc.
If you click on “Export” in the top bar, you can save a flattened version of you project wherever you choose. If you only do this option, and do not also save it to your Hub, you cannot come back and edit it later.
And there you have a great looking graphic! With a little bit of practice, you’ll soon learn looks that you love, and creating your graphics will only take minutes.