This post is sponsored by Skillshare.

When I started this blog, I took all my pictures with a camera that came in a yellow box and you took it to the store to get your photos developed.

And then?

You threw the camera away.

Five blog years later, I have a fancy camera and fancy lenses and I spend hours editing my pictures.  And just when I think I have the whole photography thing figured out, I discovered something I never knew before.

Whoever said that photography takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to perfect was right.

That’s why my holiday photos and I are glad we are friends with Skillshare.  Skillshare is an awesome community full of more than 17,000 online classes on skills that are just waiting to be learned.  Classes on photography and crafting and creating and designing and blogging and so much more.

And now?

In super exciting news….

….you can try it for two months for FREE—simply click here.

I just took a PicMonkey photography editing class and I learned so much.

Here are a few tips I learned to make Christmas photo taking a little easier.

Here’s the overview of the class I took.

It was called Easy Photo Editing for Social Media, Profile, Product, and Cover Photos in PicMonkey.

You can see all the sections of the class on the left.  It was pretty comprehensive.  The class covered the reasons why you should edit and tips for taking better photos and even how to add a watermark to the photo.  But my favorite section was the one on product images because on my blog, that’s what I concentrate the most.

Let me show you the best tips I learned step by step.

Here’s the picture from the post on Monday.

This is completely unedited.

The composition is good,  but it’s so dark and not sparkling at all.

Enter tip #1:  Start with the exposure button.


I skip this step and go straight for the Curves button at the bottom.

But I’d thought I’d try it in a different order and it worked slightly better.

The difference in the final photo is subtle and it has a little more depth.

Here’s the photo after I used the exposure button.

I upped the brightness and reduced the highlights and reduced the shadows and took away a little of the contrast.

And now the picture looks so much better.

Then I tried photo tip #2:  Using the levels button.

I never use this tool.

I just didn’t know what to do with it.

There are three sliders and they help to adjust your pixels in your photograph.  They can help with adjusting the whites and grays and blacks in a photo.

Here’s the picture after I’ve used the levels button.

The difference is subtle, but see how the white in the background of the picture looks lighter.

That’s the levels button.

And photo tip #3 uses the Orton tool.

I’d never used this tool before, either.

See what I mean about learning and photography.

You use this tool when you want to remove shadows.

There were slight shadows in the background of the photo that I removed with this tool.  Just click on reverse effect and hover your circle where you want to remove a shadow then adjust the fade to make it lighter or darker.

Then I sharpened the photo and now here’s the before and after.



Isn’t photo editing amazing?

I’m a big fan of Skillshare.

They offer over 17,000 different classes on everything you can imagine from with over 1000 photography classes alone.

Here are a few other fun photography classes:

Bigger, Better, Different:  Creative Photo Editing

Food Photography:  Shooting in Five Styles

12 Still Life Photography Mistakes (and What You Can Learn From Them)

Mobile Photography Basics for Instagram Success

This is just a sampling of some of the classes on photography.  It’s just what I’m interested in right now.  There are over 15,000 classes in every possible area you can think of–from how to brew the perfect cup of coffee to how to build your social media platform to learning how to blog.

You can check them all out here and design and create and dream and learn to your heart’s content….

….for FREE. 🙂

To try out Skillshare for two months for FREE, simply click here to redeem.

There are thousands of classes waiting with a seat with your name on it…

….just waiting to help you learn something new. 🙂


disclosure:  This post was sponsored by Skillshare.

All opinions are my own and I would shout them from the rooftops if I could.

Please see my advertising page for more information.


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  1. Image for Terry Terry

    Bless your little cotton socks! What an amazing resource! I have so many photos that I struggle to bring up to that next notch and so intimidated by Photoshop (!!!) this looks easy and fun and has bright colors and feels like anyone can learn to use it woohoo!!! I'm headed there now, thanks a million!

  2. Image for Nancy Nancy

    I always love your photography tips. It sounds like Skillshare might be a fun thing to try. As you know, I have been working on improving my photography also. It seems like there is always, always room for improvement. By the way, I would love to see what you think of the photos I took for my Christmas Home tour I posted today. :) Thanks friend! Nancy from Slightly Coastal

  3. Image for Michele Michele

    Been using PicM since it came out and love it and just learned a couple very valuable tools - thank you so much. I need to check out SkillShare - neat concept. Your before/after pic is truly amazing. I appreciate you, KA!!! ♥

  4. Image for Charley Charley

    I know this isn't going to make anybody happy. I like the before pix much better than the after. I see much more detail and I like the moody quietness, like a room right before it's inabited.......when it's full of anticipation.

  5. Image for Debrashoppeno5 Debrashoppeno5

    I have always thought you are a terrific photographer so I love it when you share your tips. I didn't know what some of those buttons were in PicMonkey were either. Thanks for the info.

  6. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I think I'll have to try this for blogging! Thanks for sharing. And that room is perfect. I'd just have to sit and warm my heart for a while each day...just a welcome home party for that great room and for you.

  7. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Thanks so much for introducing us to Skillshare! I signed up and can already tell that I'm going to LOVE IT!!! You're the bomb! Merry Christmas from Montana!

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