Become A Better Blogger - PicMonkey, Canva, Photoshop and Lightroom - Which Do I Need?

Published: Mon, 04/20/15

There’s no denying the importance of images in blogging today and many people ask us which software they should use: PicMonkey, Canva, Photoshop or Lightroom?

The answer is… probably all of them. 

PicMonkey, Canva, Photoshop and Lightroom all serve different purposes and as a blogging team, Janice and I couldn’t imagine life without any of them.

That being said… I (Susan) have never used Lightroom and these days, I rarely use Photoshop. 

But, that is because I have Janice to handle the majority of our photography needs. Janice uses a DSLR to shoot her photos in raw, brings them in to Lightroom to organize and efficiently do the initial photo edits. Then she will do finer touch editing in Photoshop.

If the photos are for posts that I’m writing, she will upload a set of photos to SmugMug or Dropbox and then I will add headings and make collages using either Canva or PicMonkey.

If Janice is adding titles or making collages with the photos, she might do so within Photoshop, but often she will use either Canva or PicMonkey to quickly turn the photos into “pinnable images”.

(By the way, Photoshop and Lightroom are now available as a $9.99 monthly package called Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan.)

When Photography Is NOT Your Thing

As I mentioned, I personally haven’t yet used Lightroom and I rarely use Photoshop. (Because I have Janice… and she does.)

But even if you don’t have a twin sister taking and editing photos for you, photography may still not be “your thing”.

And that’s okay.

I make TONS of images without any input from Janice and often without taking the photos myself. I regularly use stock photography from dollarphotoclub as well as client product photos and other graphics. I depend daily on both PicMonkey and Canva.

I find PicMonkey and Canva to be very different from each other and have their own strengths and weaknesses.


PicMonkey is my main “go-to” image editor. If I need resize, crop, make a quick touch up, add a border, add a title, or make a collage… chances are high I will use PicMonkey.

The key tasks for which I always use PicMonkey are: resizing, cropping, and adding a border. Those tasks are not nearly as easy in Canva.

We have published several PicMonkey tutorials:
  1. How To Fix Bad Flash Photos
  2. Master The Clone Tool and Make Stuff Disappear
  3. PicMonkey Collage and Editor
Check out our PicMonkey Resource Page for more...


Canva is newer to the scene, but we have fallen in love with it because it's awesome for easily making “sophisticated” graphics. We're not the only ones impressed... They recently hit 2 million users.

Five of the best features are:
  1. You can save images while still in layers and continue working on them in a later session. This is similar to Photoshop, where your file can maintain several “layers” and you can continue to manipulate those layers after you close and open the program again. In PicMonkey, once you close your session and reopen your file, it is simply a .jpg or a .png. There are NO layers left… which means you cannot quickly make a change and move or resize a particular element.

  2. You can create multiple images within one “design”. This ability to duplicate and add multiple “pages” within your design is critical if you’re creating a set of matching images. You cannot easily do this in PicMonkey and it’s not as smooth a process in Photoshop either.

  3. You can get started with a template or design idea. For those of us who aren’t actually graphic artists, Canva gives us a huge leg up. I often browse through their templates to get my ideas flowing. Sometimes I will create an image based on a template, but even if I start from scratch, I get inspired by their designs. Some of the templates are free and others cost $1 which you pay when you download your design.

  4. You can create a new design by editing a previous one or copying it to start a new version. I use this feature constantly... especially when I'm creating sets of images for Twitter Party graphics. I follow a similar template each time.

  5. You can quickly search Canva's own built in stock image database and add a $1 stock photo to your image right inside of Canva. This is the most unique feature and a very clever business decision on their part.

One of the things that I find frustrating in Canva is that you don’t seem to be able to resize the final images. You can resize and crop a photo within an image, but the workflow in Canva is to decide on your image size first and then create it.

I wish that you could resize the images within a design. So when I make a set of “pages” within a “design”, it would be nice to be able to make one 1200 by 800 and another 740 by 480 etc. As far as I know, you can’t do that. If I’m wrong, please let me know.

So even if you’re taking your photos on your smartphone and you never use Photoshop or Lightroom, you can still create killer images for your blog.

But Consider Stretching Yourself

Blogging is getting more visual and more competitive. If you’re blogging about food, crafts or DIY, your photos are really important.

If you aren’t yet comfortable with Photoshop and Lightroom, don’t be scared… Janice is here to help. 

(Yes, I’m sharing her with you. LOL)

Adobe has asked Janice to create a set of video tutorials to walk you through how to use Photoshop and Lightroom. 

She’s created two blog posts with video tutorials and will be making more soon.
  1. Getting Started With Photoshop
  2. How To Edit Your Photos Like a Pro - Start to Finish Photo Edit

Photo editing can seem intimidating, but when someone shows you just what to do, it’s not so hard after all.

Watch Janice's videos and then have fun editing your images!