PicMonkey: The Poor Man’s Photoshop

online product views mainDrop hundreds of dollars on Photoshop? What do you think I am? Some kind of oil tycoon?

Nope. I use PicMonkey instead and I’m able to turn boring images into better, more eye-catching visual masterpieces for my blog and social media posts.

And guess what? I can do it all without spending a single damn dime.

What exactly is a PicMonkey, you ask? Well, it’s a really awesome site that lets you edit images for free without having to register or download any software.

And the best part (aside from no charge) is that there’s no learning curve. Seriously.

It’s so easy to use that you won’t have to spend any time scouring their ‘help’ section or Googling tutorials to figure it out.

Still not convinced? If anyone is a good judge of how easy a photo editor is to use, it’s me. Pre-PicMonkey, cropping was the extent of my photo editing knowledge. Rest assured, if I can use it, you can too.

Here are some of PicMonkey’s features:

  • Resize
  • Crop
  • Adjust exposure
  • Add frames
  • Add effects
  • Add fun stickers
  • Add text
  • Add overlays
  • Add logos or watermarks

Fun with Photos

Since I mainly use PicMonkey for business stuff, that’s the example I’ll be showing here. But you can probably have even more fun using it for personal images because you can do things like give your friends vampire fangs or a nice Zombie-esque skin tone. (Not that I’ve done that or anything.)

First, though, you’ll need an image to work with. I normally get images from iStock, but if you’d prefer a free image you can (sometimes) get a pretty decent selection by using Flickr Creative Commons.

In the example below, a co-worker had chosen this iStock image to go with a blog post she had written about how using local suppliers has a positive effect on communities.

Pic Monkey Before Example

This image is about to get PicMonkey’d so hard

It’s an okay image as is… but it seemed to be lacking a little something. So what did I do? I PicMonkey’d the hell out of it and made it better. And yes, I also turned PicMonkey into a verb.

Check out how I worked my PicMonkey magic in five easy steps below:

Step 1: Upload

This step is so quick and easy that it’ll be done and over with in one second. (That’s what she said.)

All you have to do is go to PicMonkey, click ‘edit photo,’ upload the image of your choice, hit ‘open,’ and it’s ready for some editing!

Step 2: Add Some Text

Add text on PicMonkeyPhoto EditorHave a boring image? Spice that thing up with some text.

Better yet, add a quote. People love quotes!

Here’s the quote I chose for the image: “Locally owned companies create a greater economic impact, indirectly supporting more jobs, payroll and output locally.”

By adding this quote directly onto my image, it’ll be stronger and able to stand on its own. For example, people won’t have to read the blog post to understand what this image means — and they’ll be much more likely to ‘like’ it and share it with others.

To add the text, I clicked ‘P’ on the photo editor and hit ‘add text.’

A little box pops up on the image and that’s where I pasted the quote. Within this feature, you can easily choose the font you want to use (there are tons of options) and adjust the size, color, and location of your text.

Step 3: Add a Frame

PicMonkey Frames

Almost every image looks better with a frame. Why? Because frames are some classy shit.

So fancy up your image by adding a simple edge or maybe even a museum matte if you’re feeling extra ritzy.

For my image, I decided to go with a nice, simple edge frame and it turned out pretty lovely if I do say so myself.

To add the frame, I selected the ‘frame’ option from the feature menu and chose the frame I wanted — it’s that easy.

You also have the option of adjusting the outer color of the frame and the thickness as well as adding some ‘caption space,’ which is pretty cool.

If you’re feeling delicate and prefer softer, rounded edges for your frame, simply adjust the corner radius.

Step 4: Add a Logo

Overlay on PicMonkeyBranding your image with a logo is always a good idea. Why? Because when people start liking, retweeting, sharing, and pinning it like crazy they’ll know where it came from.

And hopefully, they’ll love your image so much that they’ll look up the name of your business just to find out who the genius was that created it.

Luckily, PicMonkey makes it super easy for you to add a logo or a watermark to your image with their ‘overlay’ feature, and bonus, it’ll make you feel like a photo-editing expert while you do it.

“Oh, sorry, I’ll have to call you back, I’m busy adding an overlay to my latest blog image.” Sounds mildly impressive, right?

To add a Scott’s Marketplace logo to the image, I selected ‘overlay,’ from the features menu and then I selected ‘your own.’ Once you’ve hit ‘your own,’ you’ll need to upload your logo or watermark and then you can place it wherever you want on the image, adjust the size, and even add fade or change the color.

Step 5: Admire Your Handiwork

Well, here it is! The new, better, PicMonkey’d image I created. What do you think?

PicMonkey After ImageNot bad, right? Adding the quote, frame, and logo gave it a more personalized feel — and when we posted it to our Facebook page, it got more ‘likes’ and shares than it would have otherwise.

And before any of you haters out there leave a comment saying I have the photo-editing skills of a first grader, please reference my introductory paragraph… and then meet me on the playground at recess and we’ll see if you’re still so tough then.

I fully admit that I have zero experience editing images but even those of you with super fancy skills (if you’re being honest) have to agree that I did, at least, improve the image and, even better, I did it for free and in under 10 minutes! What do you have to say about that, Photoshop bullies?

If you desire even more features, you can choose their Royale membership that comes with “ads-free editing and a kingly hoard of primo effects, fonts, overlays, and textures” starting at $2.75 per month.

Verdict: PicMonkey is the perfect tool for small business owners and/or anyone who doesn’t want to needlessly drop a ton of dough on a program to edit images for business or personal use. It’s fun, fast, and easy. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Will you use PicMonkey to edit images for your small business?

About the Author

Shannon Willoby

Shannon is the director of content marketing for Scott's Marketplace and has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. (Or crayon.) When she's not blogging, you can find her daydreaming that she's Khaleesi from Game of Thrones.


  1. says

    These types of programs are great for web applications but not for printing. We get a lot of customers that try to design their own print collateral with these programs only to have us redesign them in a professional program. I just wanted to let you know from a printing standpoint that these programs do not save time or money when your goal is printing.

    • Shannon Willoby says

      Thanks, Maranda. I’m referring mainly to what I use it for, which is social media posts and blog images. But that’s definitely good to know!

    • Shannon Willoby says

      I totally agree! I love using PicMonkey to make my social media and blog post images better. Thanks for the comment, David!

  2. says

    Thank for the great tip!

    I need to try this. I have to do such pic editing for my own sites and for clients. It’s like a bad prank that the built-in image programs on windows and mac (though Mac is better) don’t allow the different quick editing that you need.
    Tried different tools that haven’t quite done it.

    Have been using GIMP, which is also a free alternative to Photoshop.

    But it’s kind of overkill for what I need most of the time. And has some quirks. Plus I haven’t mastered how to add text to images. Some sort of “layer voodoo” probably. I end up having to go to something else to add text.

    Anyway, this seems like a better solution. Thanks!

  3. Clare Caiacob says

    I loved this article! really helped me. Im in the process of setting up a business and this will definitely help me get my name out there more.
    Just one question, how do I create a watermark so I can insert my logo on the pictures? I don’t want an ugly white box around my logo on the picture.

  4. Jodi says

    Hi Shannon – just a question I’ve been wondering about, do you know if it is allowable to sell images you’ve created in PicMonkey?

    • Shannon Willoby says

      Hi Jodi, do you own the image? If you’re just using PicMonkey to edit an image that you own, that should be okay, but if it’s something you’ve taken from Google Images or someone else took the shot, you couldn’t sell that.

    • Amy says

      You are not allowed to sell designs created on picmonkey that utilize fonts because their font license does not allow use on commercial products. They should make this clear.

  5. says

    DO NOT recommend PixMonkey for printing photos, I work for a photo printing lab and so many people think this program is fantastic. Every week I have to explain the program is only for blog and internet usage. Photoshop Elements is less than $100

    • Shannon Willoby says

      That’s good info, Dawn! Here I’m recommending it only for blog/social media usage and PicMonkey really is fantastic for that. It’s free and very user-friendly, while Photoshop will take a bit more time, effort, and money to learn. But if someone is going to be using the images they create for print as well as online usage, then definitely Photoshop Elements would be the route to go down. Thanks!

  6. julia says

    Personally I hate Pic Monkey but I must say that picture does look very professional, but how long did it take to do that? Maybe a whole day or two?

    • Shannon Willoby says

      Hi Julia, that took under 10 minutes to do… PicMonkey is super easy and fast, which is why I like it. What do you use to edit images? Thanks for your comment!

  7. Raquel says

    I want to use PicMonkey to create downloadable art I’ve created onto an Etsy Shop. Is PicMoneky a good way to do this. Photoshop is expensive.

    • Shannon Willoby says

      Hi Raquel! You might also want to try Canva… I’ve just been getting into it and it’s great! You can do a lot more with it than you can with PicMonkey and it’s super affordable.


  1. PicMonkey: The Poor Man’s Photoshop…

    How can you edit images for your small business’ blog and social media posts for free? Check out our review of PicMonkey and find out!…

  2. […] PicMonkey- Another option would be PicMonkey, which is a great alternative to Canva. It is basically like the former but slightly easier to understand. Furthermore, PicMonkey comes with varied font options which allow you to add text to your images with ease. Here is a great review of PicMonkey from Scott’s Marketplace. […]

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