I’m a huge fan of PicMonkey, which is how I’ve created everything from fun holiday themed photos to cool photo collages, as well as using it simply to edit some of my favorite photos.

Now, on top of their basic free service, they’ve launched a new monthly membership program for $4.99/month because, hey, what they offer is pretty darn awesome.

As an avid PicMonkey user, I took a closer look at their new Royale service to see whether it’s worth the upgrade, and here’s what I think.

The new PicMonkey Royale service offers members access to all of PicMonkey’s awesome frames, collages, and photo editing features, as well as a completely ad-free experience. So this means that if you don’t want to pay, you will be losing access to a number of the features that you may have come to love.

picMonkey Royale features

As far as the editing features go, free users will still have access to lots of cool tools, actually, like their basic edits, fonts and frames; in fact, the only stark difference for Royale members are in regards to the effects (aka filters) and overlays, where you only get a few of the basic offerings. And if you’re looking to touch-up a photo for free, that feature is pretty much now only reserved for Royale members only.

picmonkey royale

If you tend to use PicMonkey for collages, I found really only a few templates that were off limits for free members, most of which were the more involved ones, like Pinterest-y and Jigsaw. Of course, those also happen to be ones I use often but you might not.

The other benefit is that Royale members will have a completely ad-free experience, which is nice considering the ads are a bit large at the bottom of the screen.

Bottom line: As someone who just uses PicMonkey for quick basic edits and fun collages, it probably isn’t worth it for me to upgrade. However, if it’s a go-to editing tool for you that you use say in lieu of purchasing PhotoShop (pricy!), or to create intricate collages for your website, blog, or Pinterest, then I’d say $4.99/month is a good deal–although it would be nice for a little discount on a prepaid yearly membership.

And hey, a subscription might even make a cool holiday gift for your favorite shutterbug. -Kristen

You can learn more about the new PicMonkey Royale program on their blog.

Editor’s Note: PicMonkey Royale is now $33/year for the annual plan (or $4.99/month if you choose to subscribe monthly).