Taking a So-So Photo and Making it a Great Photo

Home Stager with Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC

Taking a so-so Photo and Making it a Great Photo


So you take a photo and download it to your computer only to find it didn’t come out as you had hoped – lighting’s not good, it’s crooked, washed out or it’s too dark, not a lot of vivid colors. We’ve all been there, but there is hope and that is where Picnik comes to the rescue!


Below you will see how I took a bleached out, crooked photo and turned it into a great photo....


1.  Go to Picnik and you will see “upload photo” – you can upload up to 6 at a time - hold the CTRL key and pick your photos.


2. Now you’ll see all six photos – click on the one you want to edit and it automatically brings it into edit mode – see option bar above your photo.


3. If your photo is crooked, click the “Rotate” icon. You will see in my example below that I needed this feature. Now you will see a “Rotate” and a “Straighten” bar – (Ignore ROTATE – that’s not what you want.) slide the straighten bar until your photo is perfectly straight using the automatic graph that pops up.


4.  Next you can “Re-size” – I like 900 horizontal - (Picnic automatically proportions the photo) so I don’t lose clarity, but that’s just me.


5.  Next I “Crop” if necessary – you can always undo this but I crop most of my photos for better detail of my subject.


6. Next, go to “Exposure” and “Colors” icons– (again, they are found above your photo.) I always start with "exposure" and play around with it and then go to "colors". (You can use Auto Fix on the left side, but I usually don’t like the results and do it manually – you learn more this way.  


7.  Play around with it until you get the feel – you can always click the “Undo” button on the right side if you don’t like it and start over. (I don’t use “Sharpen”, haven’t had great results.)


8When you are done editing your photo, click on “Create”. To keep this simple this is where I add my signature by clicking on “Text” – 3 icons over from the left and a box appears. Choose a font and color and write your text. It will appear in the middle of your photo - drag it to where you want it to go and click outside the box and you’re done.


9.  Next you can Frame it (click the “Frame” icon – 6 over from the left – again, above your photo. I usually use “Museum Matte”, but there are plenty of options so play around with it until you find one you like – again, you always have the option to “Undo” and start again.


10. Now click on “Save and Share” and download your new photo back to your computer. You should now have a framed, beautiful photo that you love. The more you do this, the better you get at it – trust me on this one!


Original photo:



First I straightened and cropped and then the fun part....


While still in edit mode, I used "Exposure"  making the photo darker and added "Contrast". Next I enhanced my picture using "colors" which brings up "Saturation" and "Temperature". When I was done I hit "Okay" icon on the left side, Then I clicked "Create" and added my signature and frame (Museum Mate) and changed the inside color to green for effect.

Here is the final result....



One more example - same process...





These are the basics and I'll do another more technical post on enhancing your photos in the future, but you will get outstanding results with the information I've given you!


Best of luck to all and I’ll be on the lookout for some fantastic photos from all of you!  



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Elite Staging and Redesign - Kristine Ginsberg - 201 602 2562


Home Staging Morris County - Staged to Sell, Designed to Live!

You have 90 seconds to make a great first impression once your home goes on the market. Consult a Morris County professional home stager serving Union, Essex, Sussex Counties for that competitive edge so your home stands out from the competition, selling faster and for top dollar!  

Elite Staging and Redesign offers home staging services to North Jersey homeowners, real estate agents, banks, builders, and investors in preparing homes to stand out in today’s real estate market. For a consultation on vacant staging, lived in homes or interior redesign projects call Elite Staging and Redesign at 201-602-2562.

Morris County Home Staging Website: Elite Staging and Redesign

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Email: Kris@elitestagingandredesign.com




Re-Blogged 12 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
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Brent Diebert
Guaranteed Rate Affinity - Worthington, OH
A Community Lender, Where Family’s Come First

Thank you for the great post.  I had used Picnik in the past for minor editing but will certainly revisit the site again after seeing your post.

Jun 30, 2011 07:00 AM #128
Cristina Salcedo
REMAX Champions - Riverside, CA
Corona, Riverside Realtor

I currently use photoshop but from your post and all the comments it sound as if Picnik might be easier to use.  I will definately try it.  Thank you for the tips.

Jun 30, 2011 08:54 AM #129
Kathy Cooke
just-stage-it - Charlotte, NC

Thanks for taking the time to share your skills

Jun 30, 2011 09:24 AM #130
Jeff Hollister
Native Californian with 20 years serving OC Buyers & Sellers - San Clemente, CA
Real Estate Broker, Serving Orange County, CA

Wow, Kristine. I've been editing photos for many years now, and I have to say you go well beyond what I usually do. I'm very impressed, and will be spreading the word. Thanks!

Jun 30, 2011 11:19 AM #131
Gerard Gilbers
Higher Authority Markeing - Asheboro, NC
Your Marketing Master

I had seen the name but did not know what Picnik did. I will definitely need to look into it. Thanks

Jun 30, 2011 01:20 PM #132
Jennifer Manchester
Suburban Properties of Charlotte, LLC - Mint Hill, NC
GRI, ePRO, ASP - Broker/Home Stager



These are great tips.  I have not started using Picnik yet. Do you use the paid version?

Jul 01, 2011 01:27 AM #133
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Thanks Janice - what's cool is how many edited framed photos are showing up on posts!

Barbara - you're so welcome and when I write tips, I write them the way I can understand them - simple and step by step!

Mel & Gretchen - thanks and lucky you to have a talented wife who already knows what she's doing!

Cindy - it takes some time to get the color, brighten, darken, saturatatin down - play around with it and you'lll be great in no time!

Jeanne - thank you and wait until you see the results!

Pat - Oh yeah, that's how I learn just about everything - I have to do it myself but it was worth the time and effort because you get better as you go!

Valerie - I just found that out a month ago - saves so much time!

Michelle - You're very welcome and I hope you try it - you will love the results!

So glad to hear Janet and make sure you post those edited photos - at AR we love good photos!

Wandanna - Picnik is great for MLS and every Realtor should use some type of editing program - it makes a drastic improvement and we don't always get the lighting we like depending on the day we take them and that's were Picnik is invaluable!

Loreena - Picnik is great for frames and they really showcase a photo nicely!

Monica - Thanks - sometimes I even impress myself - lol!

Lyn - I will definitely check out FotoFlexer - thanks for the tip!





Jul 01, 2011 02:28 AM #134
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Jan - I can alwalys tell too who is using Picnik - lol! Thanks and have a great 4th!

Jon - It's a great tool and you'll find my instructions very easy - the way I need them!

Donald - there are alot of photo programs. Everyone needs to find the one that works for them.

Richard - your welcome and have fun while your learning - you get better as you go!

Jody - you should write a post on this!

Pippa - yes you can and that's where the magic comes in!

Marte - it is IMHO! Best of luck and have fun - you get better the more you  play with it!

Judy - colors are key to making a good photo into a great photo! Best of luck!

Brent - It took me a while to discover and master all the options Picnik has to offer, but I'm glad I stayed with it!

Christina - good luck, have fun - it's a great tool and easy to learn!

Kathy - you're welcome!

Jeff - you'd be amazed at all you can do with Picnik - this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you upgrade for $29.00 a year, there are even more features - money well spent!

Gerard - Best of luck and you will be glad you did!

Jennifer - I did upgrade for $29.00 a year and it's so worth the money, however, all the changes I made in the above photos were using the free package!



Jul 01, 2011 02:40 AM #135
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Picnik is a great tool and I have been using it for some time.  I learned about it here on Active Rain.

Jul 01, 2011 05:37 AM #136
Patric Santo Pietro
RE/MAX First Realty - Metuchen, NJ

I didn't think the difference between the two photos would be that striking. Thanks for the tips.

Jul 01, 2011 06:45 AM #137
Bob Sweazy
Prudential A. S. de Movellan Real Estate - Lexington, KY

I've never heard of Picnic, so thank you so much. I really needed this.

Jul 05, 2011 05:08 AM #138
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

So neat!  I've bookmarked this, thank you!

Jul 07, 2011 07:39 AM #139
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Gene - same here, I leaned about it on Active Rain!

Patric - it is amazing what a little tweaking can do!

Bob- good luck and have fun - you get better as you go!

Patricia - You're welcome and best of luck!

Jul 09, 2011 09:53 AM #140
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

Is it too late to say "wow, what an awesome tutorial?"  You know I love Picnik. I'm in it almost every day doing some edits (as you described in your post) and to play.


P.S. Sorry for being late to this post - I've been slammed, which is great but leaves little time to comment like I want to.

Jul 18, 2011 12:29 PM #141
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Kathy - thank you very much and I owe it all to you for turning me on to Picik and how to make beautiful collages! Now, I use it for all my home staging and MLS jobs!

Sep 17, 2011 08:29 AM #142
June Tassillo
Owner/Broker RE/MAX Elite Realty - Franklin, NC
Let me help you with the next phase of your life!

Kristine ~ Thank you for taking the time to let us all in on your little secrets... I know someone else shared them with you and you are just passing them on right?  :O)  Now I know where to get those neat Frames you been using.  

Sep 18, 2011 01:47 AM #143
Kristine Ginsberg
Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC - Short Hills, NJ
NJ Home Stager

Thank you June and while I was using Picnik, I didn't know half the features available until Kathy Nielsen, stager extraordinaire, wrote a tutorial on making collages. That's when I really started playing around with it until I learned everything and tried every option. Because I take so many photos and MLS pictures, I use Picnik daily. The more you work with it the easier it gets, but is worth the time to learn! Nice to see you on my blog and I hope you are doing great, selling lots of homes! Don't be a stranger GF!

Sep 18, 2011 04:52 AM #144
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

It is such a good transformation. Very impressive.

On a 900 pixel note. I recently read that AR window is 684 pixels, and I do not remember how many in Localism, but I do not think it is even 500.

Nov 06, 2011 01:27 PM #145
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Wow!  What a spectacular difference in the befores and afters.  I have worked some with Picnik, but I haven't used it much to increase the color intensity like that.  I'll have to play with that.

Nov 06, 2011 01:44 PM #146
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Thanks for the tip and you used fine examples again.

Oct 05, 2012 03:39 PM #147
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