Photo Art Techniques
For Great Photo Effects

There are hundreds of photo art techniques that can be used to enhance images after they have been taken using computer software. I am not a purist at heart and neither am I a complete digital junkie.

If an image looks great straight out of the camera then fantastic, if it requires a little something else to bring out the best in the image or create an interesting artistic photo effect then that's Okay too.

I have chosen just a few photo art techniques to illustrate some of the possibilities available to the digital photographer. These may expand as time goes on and if you have a particular favourite technique then I would be happy to include it here.

For these digital photography tips I will use Photoshop as the software demonstrator. Your own software commands may differ slightly but they should allow you to translate them to your software.

Diffuse Glow

This effect works well with a black and white image. It creates a grainy image with a glow effect.

Photo Art Techniques - Picture by Kate Tilmouth Photo Art Techniques - Diffuse Glow by Kate Tilmouth

With the image on screen, make sure that you have the background colour set to white, (Hit D on keyboard).

Then Choose Filter > Distort > Diffuse Glow from menu.

As a starting setting try:

  • Graininess = 3
  • Glow Amount = 10
  • Clear Amount = 15

Use the slider to achieve the best effect with your image.

photo art picture by Kate Tilmouth photo art cross process picture by Kate Tilmouth

Cross Processing

This creates a very saturated high contrast image. So use with a image with just a few very strong colours, like this contruction tractor.

With image open on screen choose from the menu

Image > Adjustments > Curves.

cross processing curves menu

Create a shallow down "S" curve by dragging on the diagonal line.

Then Choose the RED channel from the drop down menu and create a more severe downward "S" curve.

Now choose the BLUE channel and create an inverse "s" curve. Play around with this setting until you have a lot of warm yellow highlights and a blue cast in the shadows.

Fish Eye Distortion

photo art picture by Kate Tilmouth photo art fish eye picture by kate Tilmouth

The sort of images that work well with this type of effect are ones that have good depth and move diagonally away in the picture. This allows the filter to stretch this vista and exaggerate the scene.

With image on screen, choose

Filter > Distort > Spherize and enter -80% for the amount.

Now click on the Mode menu and choose Horizontal only, click Ok

Open the Spherize filter again and just change the mode to vertical only, click OK