Create custom photos for social platforms with PicMonkey Royale

PicMonkey Royale allows users to edit and enhance photos and create collages, cards, banners, and invites.

Link
http://www.picmonkey.com

Specifications
PicMonkey Royale allows users to edit and enhance photos and create collages, cards, banners, and invites. 

Cost
Ranges from $4.99 per month to $33 per year.

Ownership
Privately held.

User
Cindy Meltzer, social media innovator for Stonyfield consumer brands, has been using PicMonkey Royale for two years.

How do you use it?
I go to PicMonkey.com and log on.

It’s a very easy interface. There are large edit, touchup, design, and collage icons across the top of the page. A drop down menu appears when you hover over an icon. In the edit icon, it prompts you choose a photo to edit and then tells you how you can upload photos from your computer, or from Dropbox, Facebook, and Flickr.

When I open an image, PicMonkey automatically brings it right into the edit function. There are many things I can do with the picture, but most often, I use crop and resize. 

When you’re done editing, you hit save. You have the option to save different levels of image quality.

Customer service is great. Technical issues are very infrequent. If I have a question or if something isn’t working quite right, I ping PicMonkey on Twitter They almost always respond within a few hours either with an answer or contact information for someone who can help. 

There is also a more formal support function on the website if you need help. Personally, I don’t use it because I’m a Twitter person.

How does it serve your business needs?
Our creative services department creates gorgeous product images and marketing collateral. They don’t always do it with social media in mind because they’re creating it for different very specific purposes, but so much of it is so gorgeous that I want to share it on Facebook.

PicMonkey helps us drive social media engagement because beautiful images really resonate with our audience.

I take existing images that our creative services team creates, and occasionally stock images, and resize them specifically for Facebook. For an image to appear optimally as a beautiful square on Facebook, you need to crop it.

You also want to edit photos for Facebook to a specific resolution so it’ll expand to the optimal size when someone clicks on it. I always resize to 806x806. In the Facebook timeline, images are 403x403, but when you click it open it’s 806x806. If you post an 806x806 image, Facebook will automatically crunch it down to the smaller scale version in the timeline.

PicMonkey makes cropping really easy. There is a default cropping tool that creates a perfect square so I don’t have to measure it out. It counts pixels for you. You can set it to be an exact square so it will automatically only let you crop to that square. You can set it to be 806x806 and set that square on the image exactly where you want it.

We’re currently experimenting with using PicMonkey to optimize images for Twitter because the platform now shows image previews in the feed. I did a lot of research on how to optimize for Twitter so images don’t get cut off. They want things in a 2-to-1 ratio. It’s not quite as easy to set a particular ratio in PicMonkey, though you can set up pixel size in advance to a 2-to-1 ratio and then crop or resize it accordingly.

We also use PicMonkey to create original content from scratch for our Brown Cow brand’s Facebook page. Often, we take a stock image and use a text overlay or an image overlay. For example, we might use the text overlay tool to put inspirational quotes on top of an image. We also use the fading and blurring tools a lot for Brown Cow.

We don’t use PicMonkey to create custom content for Stonyfield because PicMonkey doesn’t allow us to use custom fonts. Our Stonyfield brand standards require the use of custom fonts, whereas our Brown Cow brand doesn’t have that brand standard.

What are the main benefits?
It’s very user friendly for people who aren’t graphic designers. Because so much of social media is visual, social media marketers have had to become more and more graphics knowledgeable to play in the space, and PicMonkey makes it really easy.

It’s great not to have to ask our creative services department for social media optimized images. It’s much easier and quicker for me to grab images they’ve already created and optimize them myself, especially because we work on really short lead times in social media. And, it’s really affordable.

What are the main drawbacks?
No custom fonts.

What would you like to see improved/added?
I want to be able to use our custom fonts for Stonyfield. I'd say we’d be willing to pay more for that ability.

I also would like a way to better manage undoing previous work. For example, if you’ve taken five editing actions and you want to get rid of the second one only, you have to undo everything back to that point and then start again. You can always get delete an overlay, but if you do advanced editing and you want to undo something three edits back it can be hard.

Competitors

Adobe Photoshop Express: photo editing and sharing application.

Aperture: photo editing, organizing, and sharing application.

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