8 Simple Steps to Brighter Better Images for Free: Edit Your Pictures Now

You will learn how to easily edit exposure of  your images for free in 8 simple steps. A small business visual tutorial on how to  brighten your photos for better visual marketing.

If you are having trouble getting your images to be light and clear there are 2 things you need to know. 1) Even the highest paid expert photographer with tons of “natural light” and an expensive camera needs to edit their photo’s before publication. And 2) you cannot just increase the brightness for perfectly bright images. The reason is this, when you increase only the brightness of an image, it puts a white cloudy film over the subject matter most of the time, which defeats the purpose. So, after much research and trail and error, I have put together this very useful easy to follow tutorial on how to improve your images in 8 simple steps for free. Let’s start:

1. Go to www.picmonkey.com. This is a free graphic editing program that is super easy to use. This program can do simple tasks like improving exposure or adding lettering to more complex things like making your own images – which is why they offer an upgraded paid for option. But for basic image editing you do not need to pay, it is free. Before we start let me say that there are several program you can use including Canva or Photo Shop, but I prefer the ease of Picmonkey for this task. Also, I have no affiliation whatsoever with Picmonkey. I’m just a happy customer.  On the top bar select Edit – a drop down menu will appear.

picmonkey home page

2. The drop down menu is asking where you want to pull the image you are looking to edit from (not where you want to post it to). In most cases it will be from your computer, the first icon. Hover your cursor over the place you are pulling your image in from and hit enter. A drop down file menu will appear for you to search for the image file you want to edit.

pickmonkey file menu page


3. Once you find the image in the box click on it, it will bring the link into pickmoney, and you will be taken to the basic edits pageHere you can make basic edits to your image. For this tutorial, click on exposure since that’s what we are looking to improve. It is located 4 down on the left hand menu as shown below.

picmonkey basic edit page


4. Click on exposure, a drop down menu will appear with 4 exposure options for us to edit- Brightness, Highlights, Shadows, and Contrast. Follow the steps as detailed below in order, this will give you (in my experience) the best results while taking the least amount of time. First increase brightness, you do this by putting your cursor on the round button under brightness and move it to the right to increase, and the left to decrease. You will almost always slide it to the right. Note that once you increase the brightness, you will get a cloudy haze over the main subject, do not worry that will get fixed as you move down the steps. Just get it as bright as you can without any glare. If you get glare, back off to the left.

pickmonkey exposure edit screen


5. Next you want to adjust Shadows. This will start to remove that hazy glare and bring out some definition in your subject. To do this, slide the Shadows button to the left to decrease. Remember you can always go back to each of these buttons and adjust them before you are done to get it exactly how you want. As a reference, I usually slide the shadows button down to the exact number I increased my brightness to and I play with it from there.

picmonkey shadows edit page


6. Next you want to add some contrast to bring out the fine details. You are going to slide the contrast button to the right slightly to increase it. You should take this step slowly increasing little by little – do not over contrast. It will make the image look dark and murky. You should really start to see the detail and clarity come through now.


pickmonkey exposure edit page


7. Last but not least, you can adjust the Highlights. This can be increased or decreased depending on the quality of the photo you started with. If there was a glare from window light or a light bulb you will want to take the highlights down by moving the slider to the left. If you want to add some additional background brightness you will increase highlights by sliding the slider to the right.

picmonkey contrast edit page


8. Once you have the image exposure exactly where you want it, remember to save it to your computer. Picmonkey allows you to save it as a Jpeg or a PNG file.  In the basic edit menu you will see that you can also crop, and reduce the size of the image. This may come in handy when posting to social media sites, so I encourage you to work with the program a little or watch some of the tutorials they provide.

picmonkey save page


You can download a PDF copy of this tutorial in an easy to follow format for free, or pin the reminder pin to your pinterest page. Also, the image used in this tutorial is offered on our free image page for download as a printable sign, or a Jpeg file.  For additional  information on how to take perfectly clear pictures every time look here.

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