Chasing The Light - How Do You Make A Photo Look Like A Painting?

July 03, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

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July 03, 2017

Chasing The Light - How Do You Make A Photo Look Like A Painting?

It seems like photo-bloggers are like drops of water, or developer, or fixer, or, in today's term, a myriad of filters, all wanting your center stage attention. Where does that leave me, or others of my ilk? A tiny spot, brightly colored, of course, blinking blindly for a sparkle of scrutiny your eyes may or may not notice.

What glimmer of glam will pique your mind, pinch your cheek, or poke your eye with delight? A question? posed as a challenge or inquired with a simple statement that you may implement immediately.

After all, today’s technology has advanced so quickly any Joe worth his blow can afford even a simple point and shoot and still manage to record an image, in focus no less. The question then becomes; What answer may respond to your simple question you didn’t know you were asking?

In other words, there are answers to questions you did not know you have until you read them. For example: How did you make those clouds and grass look so much like a painting? What filter did you use? Did you use photoshop or some other program?

The answer: None of the above. Huh? One can achieve certain special effects without the use of filters, or digital darkroom tricks, of which there are many. In-camera cropping, and realizing that water can be its own painting if one is aware of how to use it. 

When searching for abstract images in everyday objects, an open mind is essential. That particular day this shooter was looking for abstractness at a pond and the surrounding area. Staring at the water did not help until the water looked like a canvas and not water at all.

It was then possible to see the reflection in the water as its own watercolor filter. After a number of exposures from various angles and different places, several images yielded an abstract image and a watercolor image without digital manipulation.

Want an image to look like it is a watercolor painting? Use water; a pond, a lake, a large puddle, a large sheet of clear ice, may also do the trick. Observe your choice from all angles, high, low, middle, and other positions. Think of it as if it is already a watercolor painting, then find the best possible viewpoint and shoot. 

There may be more than one possible viewpoint that is best. There may be several, shoot them all. Occasionally what is seen in the viewfinder looks better than it is once it has been recorded. The opposite is also true, take the shot anyway.

The mind interprets what it sees. The camera records only what it is capable of recording. Two thoughts one must always remember when shooting. With practice, these two concepts can mesh and eventually produce your thoughts in an image.

Have a camera question/problem you have not been able to solve or answer? Ask Andy. Next time: How do you add interest to a plain photo?

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