Servicey

How to Wean Yourself Off Picnik

Goodbye Picnik, hello PicMonkey.
picnik picmonkey How to Wean Yourself Off Picnik

The last collage the author will ever make in Picnik.

Picnik, the web-based photo-editing tool, is kind of retro. The service has been around since 2007, when Mashable wrote that “online photo editing is now a Picnik.” The service is user-friendly, basic and intuitive, and it became very popular, despite its habit of bogging down the browser. Some people even paid $24.95.

Even though Picnik announced back in January that it would be shutting down the service and refunding its customers. It’s all part of efforts by Picnik’s owner Google’s to force everyone to put their photos into Google+, we know some of you bloggers and other information workers with on-the-fly photo editing needs out there are still using it, and you have to stop.

You have to stop, because Picnik is shutting down tomorrow, for real. Get your photos out, if you have them stored there, and find another service to use. We need a new web-based photo editor to supplement the all-purpose MS Paint. 

1. Confronting app stress. Switching to a new digital tool can be extremely stressful, especially if it’s a tool you use every day and are comfortable with. It’s as if your go-to coffee shop in the morning went out of business.

The stress of switching to a new service is exacerbated if you work in a fast-paced environment such as a startup or a blog. The old service was familiar and quick to respond to your practiced touches. The new service is daunting and has a different color scheme, which is always a shock to the brain. It feels as if you have no time to figure out the new service and learn how to use it.

Breathe. You do have time to figure out the new service. Clear away an hour on your calendar just to address this issue, get a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and close your email. This is you-time. It may seem like a paralyzing task and a drastic time sink, but it’s an investment in your future.

2. Assess the seriousness of the problem. Can you remember if you ever uploaded photos to Picnik? Puppy shots, landscape photos? Crap, you did? Okay. Do you remember your Picnik login? No? Crap. Try your work email. Do you remember approximately when you might have signed up for Picnik? Try whatever password you were using at that time. Try recovering your password here. If you can’t figure it out, cut your losses. If you really cared about those photos, they wouldn’t be locked up in Picnik anyway. Don’t bother to email Picnik. As of tomorrow, they don’t care about you.

If you figure out your password, Picnik has an easy way to download your photos with Picnik Takeout.

3. Casing the new app.  Okay, we are now done with Picnik. Say goodbye. You will never see Picnik again. Don’t dwell on this, but accept it. Things won’t be exactly the same anymore.

I chose Aviary, because they are hometown New York City heroes, and because I don’t have time to do any research. But after I started working with Aviary, I realized it is way too confusing and full-featured to substitute for Picnik, so I’d suggest ultra-basic editor, PicMonkey, which has basically all the same capabilities as Picnik (collages coming soon!) as well as a browser extension.

Accept that your workflow will change. The important thing is to establish a satisfactory workflow and stick to it. We don’t have time to dick around with 20 apps. Just pick one and go with it. You can browse the site a bit or Google to see who has the functionality you most need. Things change. But the most important thing is to pick one and commit. We have photos to edit.

4. Continue your day. Install the new app, if it has a browser extension, or add a bookmark for it. Never look back. In time, you’ll grow to like the new app. Because you have to.

Until PicMonkey gets bought by Google.

Blog on.

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com