Secrets of Mo’s Photo Art Revealed to Everyone

Going from slide photography to digital doesn’t just give you better pictures.  Digital opens the door to explore altering a picture to make it a better version of the original.  But it’s even more fun to become an artist, to create something that look like a real paintings! 

While in one of the Renaissance era parks in Rome some years back while still shooting 35 mm, I came upon this crumbling villa with its decadent bougainvillea.  Smitten by the colors I snapped the shot in Kodachrone 64 but knew the light wasn’t right and as a slide it would never be a marketable shot.

This was one of the first of my old slide stock to go digital with the addition of a slide scanner to my digital arsenal.  The pix above is it’s original scanned state before alteration.  To fire it up I now use Photoshop Elements, a scaled down version of the blockbuster graphics program, Photoshop.  

Step 1 is to bring up the image and rotate it slightly to get it square to the shot. 

Step 2 is to crop the squared up image.  I crop a second time to get some roof, the upstairs window, the iconic facade columns and a frame of bougainvillea for color.

Step 3 is to brighten up the image that tends to be a bit on the dark side.  If it’s a little fuzzy I heighten the contrast too.

Step 4 I increase the color saturation to bring muddy tones into luscious bold hues.

Once you’re this far then the magic begins…

italian bougainvillea.jpg

Then go to “Filters” and choose “ink outlines”.  This will transform the standard photograph into the artistic rendering above.  However, not all photos will look great with this trick.  But that’s what’s so compelling about this effect – you never know what you’re going to get! 

Whether it’s a scanned shot or a less than great digital photo, don’t be too quick to toss it out.  More often than not it can be digitally altered into a profoundly beautiful illustration. 

Get Photoshop Elements online at Tiger Direct (see Cool Links)