Photo editing software can get incredibly expensive, and sometimes these costs can be prohibitive. If you’re a looking for a free alternative to Photoshop or Lightroom, they do exist, and PicMonkey is one of them and probably one of the better free options you have.

This online photo editing website offers many of the basic editing tools for touching up your photos, and most of the basics are offered completely free. There are some more advanced options as well that the site offers if you upgrade to the paid subscription “Royal” membership for $4.99 a month or $33 a year, but many of the free options might be enough to get the job done for you (you just have to put up with ads).

pic monkey

 

Let’s start with what you can do for free. Once you enter the site, you can immediately upload and start editing without needing to sign in or fill anything out. While it seems basic, this is actually a very nice feature, especially if you’re just looking for a quick upgrade to a jpeg you have. You can upload directly from your computer, OneDrive, Dropbox and even directly from your Facebook profile. As soon as you upload, it takes you right to the photo with a simple toolbar on the left.

The free editing options cover most of the basics you would expect from any photo editor: You can crop, rotate, resize, apply basic filters and adjust exposure and contrast. For not spending a dime, you can actually do quite a bit. It does lack any type of layering abilities however, so if you’re looking to get fancy and super detailed, you’ll be disappointed.

There are extra filters and cosmetic brushes you can use if you do choose to upgrade, but to be honest some of the extras are rather silly, such as the whisker grow which allows you to adjust scraggliness.

me:beard

My post-production manly beard, with scraggliness turned up to max

 

Like I said, silly and not particularly useful.

You can also easily add text to your photos and add default stamps or import your own. This is nice for creating quick branded shots for say, a website that you may have. Finally, the export process is very fast and simple. You simply click to send the photo to social media site’s or directly to your computer. There are three different sizes you can choose from for your final photo. Mine tended to range from 38 kb for the small or “Roger” quality to around 130 kb on their “Sean” setting. Yes, their export qualities have names.

 

PicMonkey_Wedding

 

All in all, if you’re looking for a quick editing tool, PicMonkey should be able to hit the spot for you, as long as you have a viable internet connection, which brings up another downside to the application: It is an internet only service, so if you often like to edit your photos on the go like I do, without WiFi you’ll be hung out to dry here.

If you’re looking for a more advanced editing tool, you may need to look elsewhere or invest in some more “hardcore” software such as an Adobe offering or Affinity Photo. If your business relies on touching up photos and the results you garner through that, then again this may not be for you. But if you need a tool that’s basic, quick and most importantly free, then I would totally recommend checking this web application out.

Pros:

  • Easy upload process with no signup required
  • It’s free or relatively cheap if you choose to upgrade
  • Very easy to understand interface
  • Download and sharing process is painless and simple

Cons:

  • Internet only use with no downloadable app
  • Some of the extra features are a bit silly
  • Lack of any real layering options
  • Free tools are mixed in amongst the paid ones

We give PicMonkey a mid three out of five stars (3.5) for an easy upload and export process and simple interface, but found it lacking when it comes to offline use and in its limited features, with paid tools offering more silliness than usefulness.