Transforming Images: Without Photoshop

Like many, it’s taken me years to feel like I’ve mastered one Adobe application. Photoshop is NOT THAT APPLICATION. Instead, I’ve spent the past four years in Lightroom custom-making presets. I’m well aware there’s only so much that Lightroom is going to do for a blown-out sky or adding fun/whimsical touches and so over the years, I’ve harnessed some tools that can make images come to life without Photoshop.

PicMonkey is my OG photo editing site. Before I was proficient in Lightroom, I did ALL of my editing there. Now, I mostly use it for adding texture or light to images, and it’s SUPER SIMPLE!

The video below walks you through how I add clouds after my preset has eradicated the natural clouds from the sky — also a quick and easy tool for changing the color of the sky.

I do have other applications that can edit the sky even more effectively; however, PicMonkey has textures that some of these applications do not. They also have templets for creating curated grids for sales, marketing, banners, or even a media kit, that I use quite frequently. Most features on PicMonkey are free; however, I pay $47.88 annually, which breaks down to $3.99 monthly, for the premium service.

Moving on to applications, PicMoney does have a highly rated app. It gives you almost the full range of editing that you can do on the site, however, adding overlays, like these clouds, is not available on the mobile application. Another great feature is that the images you edit and save to your library on the website, sync to the mobile app as well.

ENLIGHT, the 2017 Apple Design award winner, has a series of applications that I use throughout both my photo and video editing process. You can pay once (per app) for a lifetime subscription at $60, $20 for a year, or $3.99 a month.

The first, VIDEOLEAP is great for IG TV. You can do voice over, add effects, crop, text, mix, blend, and add audio.

FILTRO, (not an ENLIGHT app) is an excellent alternative to VIDEOLEAP. They don’t offer a one-time purchase subscription; it’s the same as VIDEOLEAP per year at $20. The ease of use is fantastic, and I genuinely think it’s a great little app for editing both video and photos.

Another app from the ENLIGHT series is PIXALOOP. The “selling feature” of this application is the ability to give images motion. You can do this with the clouds in the sky, water, a dress blowing in the wind, really whatever you can imagine. It’s relatively easy to use and creates something quite fun. FYI though, the other features are VERY similar to the ENLIGHT QUICKSHOT app, which I’ll dive more into in a minute. While QUICKSHOT focuses mainly on changing the sky, PIXALOOP also has SOME of those sky change options in addition to water changing options as well as the motion feature. If I were only purchasing one of the two, it would be PIXALOOP.

Continuing with ELIGHT, in the first part of the video below, I’m using their PHOTOFOX app. The primary feature is layering which allows for the ability to blend images together effortlessly. The second half of the video, I’m using their QUICKSHOT app. This application gives you a WIDE RANGE of different sky option with very MINIMAlL touch up!

PRO TIP: TRY BEFORE YOU BUY! All of these tools I've suggested are not for everyone. Take an hour and play around with one at a time, figure out which ones are going to be useful to your creativity. Each app you invest in should genuinely serve you.

All of the Enlight apps will give you free rein to try all the features before you buy. Once you attempt to export a photo, that's when you're prompted to buy. Other apps will only let you try if you sign up for a free subscription. They're banking on the fact that you'll forget to unsubscribe before the trial period ends and being human, I've forgotten a time or two myself. So when trying this style of app, I'd suggest setting a timer on your phone for an hour or two as a reminder to deactivate if you don't intend on purchasing.

I very much hope that this has been helpful to you. When it comes to anything within our community of creators, I’m an open book! Thinking over everyone that has helped me, if I can help someone else’s walk in some way, I’m here for it!

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Xx Manda Lee