Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 Tips for Editing and Creating Beautiful Digital Photo Projects

I love taking family photographs and creating art with them.  I've used photographs to make everything from men's ties to canvas wall art.  It's an emotional expression of love for my family to surround our "nest" with pictures of family.  Of course, my daughter is my favorite subject, but I've worked with others as well.

Here are five of my favorite tips for editing and creating beautiful digital photo projects.

1.  Play with color.  Photo editing software gives you the tools to change the colors in a photograph.  These are pictures of my little cousins.  Here's an example of one in sepia, which creates an old-time feel to a photograph.  The second photograph has the children in color, but the background in black and white, giving the photo an artistic feel and emphasizing the main focus.

Isn't this photo fun?  It would have a completely different look if it was in natural color versus this sepia version.

These are the same children but in this photo the background has been changed to black and white.  Notice how they stand out from the background - telling the viewer that they are the most important, vibrant part of the photograph.  I know my child has added "color" to my life!

2.  Change the texture of a photograph to an oil painting, a pencil sketch or a watercolor.  Photo editing software allows you to change the texture of a photograph to create "brushstrokes".  Of these three, the first is an original photo of my daughter, the second is a pencil sketch version and the third is an oil painting version.

The background in this photo was black and white, these are the actual colors in this photo.
This is the same photo in a pencil sketch-type of treatment.  Isn't it a completely different piece?  It looks much more like art in this photo.  It looks as if an artist created it, not a camera.

Speaking of the creation of an artist, this photo editing trick creates an "oil painting" effect.  Notice how the details are blurred and there are more blocks of color, as if created with paint and a brush.

3.  Correct the effects of sunlight on the color.  This is a photo I took a few years ago at a local park, and then the "corrected one".  The second photo looks much more like what my eye saw when I took the photo.  Especially with fall colors in nature, what my camera took was much more washed out than reality.  With photo editing software, I was able to correct the effects of the sunlight and bring out the true, bright fall colors that I love!

4.  Collage it!  Can't choose just one picture?  Put them all together for movement and fun.  In the first picture, I put together pictures of my daughter with each of the Disney princesses.  (Except we missed seeing Pocohontas)  The separate pictures would be nice, but a collage tells a story that individual pictures can't do.

In this collage, I'm showing the "rock star" in my daughter.  Individual pictures wouldn't tell you the movement and spirit that she showed.  By making a collage of pictures, the viewer sees a sequence of movement.

5.  Frame it!  There are many advantages to putting a "frame" around your picture using photo editing software.  It creates a finished, professional look to a photograph.  This one is an example of a tinted "mirror frame".  The frame is actually the photograph image with added color.  I was able to choose the color to match the color of her raincoat.  Doesn't it seem to "finish" off the photograph?

Photo editing software offers us unlimited choices of things to add to our photograph and improve the message we are trying to communicate to the viewer.  It truly customizes the photograph for what we want to use it for - from a coffee cup to wall art.  Experiment, but be prepared to spend hours!  It's so fun, I often get "lost in time" when I play with my photographs and photo editing software.

Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Adobe blogging program, making me eligible to receive a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here http://photoshopelements.twittermoms.com/about

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