Saturday, August 27, 2005

Creating Artistic Photographs

In this day and age, there is a lot of high-tech equipment that is priced affordably enough for regular consumers. This means that we can now do things on our own that in previous years we would have had to pay a professional to do for us. Take digital cameras, for example. There are some digital cameras that are so good and that take such high-quality pictures that even an amateur can get superb results. So now a lot of the photographic chores that we used to go to the studio for, such as family portraits, passport photos, and other things, can be done in the privacy and comfort of our own homes. In addition, you can also create your own artistic photographs that are suitable for framing and hanging throughout your home as wall decorations.

Many people prefer decorative photographs to paintings when it comes to interior design. If you are one of those people, then you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on professional prints or reproductions from world famous photographers such as Ansel Adams. Chances are you already have a digital camera. Next, all you need is some photo editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop or a freeware product called GIMP ( I personally have Photoshop Elements, which is a scaled-down version of Photoshop that cost much less than the original. I will therefore be talking about features in Elements, though other editing software probably has very similar functions.

I am not going to be talking about photo enhancements in this article. I'm going to assume that the quality of your photo is already as good as you want it to be. One of the most basic things you can do to give your photo a more artistic feel is to make it black and white. This works great for both landscape and people photos. In my software, all I have to do is go to Enhance, then Color, then Replace Color. In an instant, my full color photo is changed to a completely black and white version.

Another thing you can do is use filters. I really like the graphic pencil filter. It turns your photograph into something that looks more like a sketch than a picture. I occasionally like to add a lens flare effect. This makes your subject look like it is absolutely gleaming, and is a fun thing to use on cars, motorcycles, etc. Another great filter is something called ink outlines. When you use this effect, your photo will end up looking like someone hand drew it in pastels. I have gotten beautiful results with this filter. You might also want to try adding "noise". When you do this, your photo will look like something you might find in a newspaper or something from an old film camera.

Once you have adjusted your picture with the effects that you want, you can print it out as usual, and then frame it. These kinds of photos are a welcome and refreshing change that will liven up your home.

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