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Stop, Don't Delete that Photo: Turn Your Photo Into Art!

Updated on August 5, 2013
ordinary mushroom photo converted into a photocard
ordinary mushroom photo converted into a photocard | Source

Are you guilty of deleting photos from your files readily? Why did you take those photos in the first place if you just readily delete them without even looking at them closer or giving them a second chance? For all you know, they might be pieces of gold covered by some gooey mush.

Oftentimes, most of us who use digital cameras readily delete photos from our digital file especially if we ran out of memory space. We delete photos that do not look good to us or are not super sharp. But wait, don’t delete that photo, you might still be able to use it. Who knows, you might even turn it into art. Huh? Turn a photo into art? You must be kidding!

No, I’m not kidding! Just take a look at what I have done to some of my photos. The original ones are photos that I was tempted to delete at first, but I gave them a second chance and discovered some surprising possibilities after I played around with them.

I used Photoshop here since it's the one I have on hand, but you can also use other photo-editing software like Picasa or Fotosketcher, or Gimp.

original photo of a figurine
original photo of a figurine | Source

Your Photos Deserve A Second Look

After taking pains to take some photos or to even create them, don't be so "delete happy" when at first you don't like them. At least upload them to your computer first and take a closer look.

Do the photos really belong to the trash or recycle bin? Can you not do something about them? If they are not super sharp, maybe they can be converted into painting-like photos that do not need super sharpness? Maybe they can be twisted here and there and given another life? Maybe you can turn them into cards by adding a few phrases?

Check out what happened to some of my photos after I gave them a little twist or twirl. Maybe you can do the same to your photos? Give them a second life, they are crying for some attention!

Turn Your Photos Into Art

Open in Photoshop any image that you are not so happy about and play around with it first before you delete if at all. The steps are so easy, it is just ... playing. Who knows, you might find a gem still.

Just follow some of the steps I tried here. The steps are the title of the capsule.

• Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates>Rectangular to Polar

result after using filter distort polar coordinates on the photo above
result after using filter distort polar coordinates on the photo above | Source

Image>Adjustment>Gradient Map

after using image adjustment gradient map
after using image adjustment gradient map | Source
original image of the photo above
original image of the photo above | Source

• Filter>Distort>Shear>Texture>Craquelure

after using filter, distort, shear, texture, craquelure
after using filter, distort, shear, texture, craquelure | Source
original photo
original photo | Source

filter>artistic>paint daubs

red boat on the beach after using filter  paint daubs
red boat on the beach after using filter paint daubs | Source
red boat on the beach, original photo
red boat on the beach, original photo | Source

Distort>Wave>Square

mosaic in purple, after using distort wave square
mosaic in purple, after using distort wave square | Source
cosmos, original photo
cosmos, original photo | Source

• Filter>Distort>Shear

after filter distort shear
after filter distort shear | Source
original photo
original photo | Source

Turn Your Photo Into Art Using Photo-Editing Programs

Aside from Photoshop, there are other photo-editing programs around and some of them are free like Picasa or FotoSketcher or Gimp.

I usually use Picasa for cropping and creating soft focus and I recently discovered Fotosketcher and played around with it. I published some "art" results from using Fotosketcher in my blog: aphotoaday-saanva.blogspot.com

Wait, Don't Delete That Photo

original photo
original photo | Source
after using filter distort  wave sine
after using filter distort wave sine | Source
after using filter wave square
after using filter wave square | Source
after using distort wave triangle
after using distort wave triangle | Source
after using filter distort twirl
after using filter distort twirl | Source

Turn Your Photos Into Photo Cards

Ordinary photo of Equisetum turned into a photocard
Ordinary photo of Equisetum turned into a photocard | Source

I am now having fun turning some ordinary looking photos in photo cards. I add some quotes on them and turn them into what I call as photoquotes.

I have two hubs here where I shared these photoquotes:

Motivational-Quotes-and-Photographs

Make-Me-a-Picture--Write-Me-a-Line

Since I have been doing this, I have made so many of these photoquotes such that I created a new blog where you can choose your dose of inspiration for the day from among the various photoquotes. The link is here: http://getinspired-photoquotes.blogspot.com/

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    • FloBe profile image

      FloBe 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It is true, sometimes the most unusual photographs can be made into art. I love playing with the different effects to make an art piece to give as a gift...it makes it even more personal than just a photo. I use Photoshop but may give some of the other programs a try as well.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello FloBe,

      Thanks for being the first one here!

      You are right about the art piece being more personal than just another photo. Do you have some of your art work here?

      Thank you very much for the visit and wonderful comment?

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Awesomely useful, beautiful, and even funny!

    • timonweller profile image

      timonweller 6 years ago

      Awesome idea, art can come from anything.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Good Hub, I loved the pictures...very good ideas and I like the "wit". Every picture tells a story...Don't waste it!

    • kids-toy-box profile image

      kids-toy-box 6 years ago

      Another beautiful hub!I love how you see the beauty in everything around you! I agree there is no such thing as a bad photo...We've come a long way since instant cameras...where you had to worry about wasting precious photo paper...these days you can simply edit in photoshop and turn them into artworks like you have so beautifully done!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Micky,

      It's nice to see you again!

      Thanks very much for your short, sweet and awesome comment!

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello timonweller,

      Thanks very much for your wonderful comment!

      Thanks for the visit!

      God bless!

    • profile image

      christine villanueva 6 years ago

      nice baby! ang galing mo!

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Wow, this is totally amazing--such treats for the eyes. You know I think you're a genius when it comes to photography and thank you so much for sharing your talent. Hopefully, when I'm not so distracted with so many things to do, I'll attempt photoshop. I don't even know how:(

      Have a great day! Rated beautiful!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello b.Malin,

      Nice to see you!

      I appreciate very much your wonderful comment.

      Hope to see you again!

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello kids-toy-box,

      Wow, your comment really makes me happy. Thank you very much for making me smile!

      I wholeheartedly agree with you. I am just beginning to discover the many modes of Photoshop and I'm having so much fun playing with my photos.

      Thanks very much for dropping by. Hope to see you again!

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Tintin,

      Thanks for dropping by. I really appreciate it. Thanks too for your lovely comment.

      I just visited your site. It's awesome! Pro na pro ka na talaga. Congrats!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Anglnwu,

      You always make me happy with your visits and heartwarming comments. You are a very supportive friend!

      I just learned Photoshop by trial and error. It's only now that I am discovering its many modes and I am having fun! Sometimes I just forget the time once I start playing with this software. There is still so much to learn and discover and they are now in version5 while I am still in version3! Hahaha!

      Do try it when you have time. It's really fun!

      God bless!

    • Judicastro profile image

      Judicastro 6 years ago from birmingham, Alabama

      Jill, what a clever hub dear girl! Love the pictures, thanks for the idea. I love it!!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Judi,

      Nice to see you!

      Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment! I really appreciate your visit and words.

      God bless!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 6 years ago from TEXAS

      Yes - isn't it wonderful what one can do digitally? This is really well-presented!

    • tony0724 profile image

      tony0724 6 years ago from san diego calif

      Jill as usual awesome job ! I love the bright colors in your distort wave triangle ! Nice job as always.

    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Jill, you point out so very well how much potential can be found in "worthless" photos if one takes the time to really look at them. One of the tragedies of digital photography is the tendency to take an "easy come, easy go" attitude with a photo. When we had to pay for photo developing, every shot became important, if for no other reason than the fact that we had to pay to see it. We looked harder to see the beauty in those photos because they were ours to keep, whether we wanted them or not.

      The work you have done with these photos is absolutely amazing, and demonstrates your skill and artistic vision. Definitely voted up and awesome.

      Mike

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Great ideas here - I took a photography class years ago and was told that images that got blurred or overexposed could actually be manipulated to look very artistic.

      Beautiful work in this hub - big thumbs up!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      Beautiful art works thank you. "One man's trash, is another man's treasure."

      Brother Dave.

    • cvanthul profile image

      Cristina Vanthul 6 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub, though I liked some of the originals more than the art. I don't delete anything anymore - you never know what you'll learn down the road to be able to make a mediocre photo more interesting. Now, thanks to this hub, I'm intrigued about trying something more abstract.

    • alexandruv profile image

      alexandruv 6 years ago

      I guess it's a fine line between "art" and "trash". But yes, one can try changing one's perspective a bit from time to time :)

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I love this hub, I'm trying to learn new techniques in photo editing and this gives me some ideas. I love trying to create computer art. It's new to me. Thanks for sharing :)

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Nellieanna,

      Nice to see you!

      Coming from an artist like you, you comment is really music to my ears. Thanks very much!

      Sorry for the late response, I was out of town for a few days.

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment my friend.

      Those red things are Christmas lanterns that were used as décor in a mall.

      Sorry for the late response. I was out of town for a few days.

      As always, your visit makes me happy.

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Mike,

      You are absolutely right about how digital age has lead to the "easy come, easy go" attitude as you said. When we were still using film, we were so careful with the photos we take but now we have become "trigger happy". Well, one good thing about the digital age is along with it is the birth of photo-editing software. So we should not be so "delete happy" because as I pointed out, we can still make something out of some "worthless"(your word) photos.

      Thanks very much for your heartwarming comment!

      God bless you Mike!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Steph,

      It's so nice to see you!

      Oh, do they really teach that in a photography class? Wow! I did not take any class so I just discovered it by playing around with Photoshop. I really had fun discovering the many ways that a photo can be manipulated by this software. The learning and discovery never stops.

      Thanks very much for appreciating my work.

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Brother Dave,

      Thanks very much for your visit and wonderful comment. You make me smile!

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello cvanthul,

      Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving some nice words.

      Before I discovered Photoshop, I used to just delete any photo that I am not so happy about. Now I have learned to look at them with new eyes and discover some hidden beauty.

      If you are interested in abstract art, check out my hub on Abstract Photography too.

      God bless!

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      Great Idea! I really enjoyed reading it.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi alexandruv,

      Thanks very much for your visit and beautiful comment.

      I agree, changing one's perspective always brings refreshing ideas.

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Becky,

      Nice to see you!

      I'm happy if you learned something from this hub.

      Thanks for the visit and lovely comment!

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Katrina,

      Great to see you!

      Your comment makes me happy. Thank you!

      God bless!

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

      okay, you are awesome, mentioned that one before a few times, but this hub proves it. I think you've saved me some photos and gave me a lot of fun!

    • Sandyksk profile image

      Sandy Jauregui 6 years ago from Sanger

      voted up...~awesome~...great ideas...thanks! :))

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Rebecca,

      It's great to see you here!

      Thanks very much for your heartwarming comment! It is music to my ears.

      I am happy if you will also try this. It is really a lot of fun and you will never know what "art" you will come up with.

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Sandy,

      Nice to see you again!

      Thanks very much for your vote up and awesome. I am deeply honored.

      God bless!

    • nikitha p profile image

      nikitha p 6 years ago from India

      I love photography, thanks for sharing a nice hub.

    • profile image

      4youreyes 6 years ago

      What a great hub I can't wait to try it on some of my photos.I would have never tried something like that if I had not seen your hub.I'M looking forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Nikitha,

      Nice to see you!

      That's great! We share the same love!

      You are most welcome! It's my pleasure really to share what I discover and learn.

      All the best!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello 4youreyes,

      Thank you very much for your wonderful comment! Yes, do try it, you will be amazed at what you can make from your "almost deleted" photos.

      I have other photography hubs in case you are interested.

      Thanks very much for the visit!

      God bless!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Bookmarking, bookmarking this hub! So so cool! Great suggestions. Yes, I want to learn how to do this... :)

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Michele,

      It's great to see you!

      Wow! I am most honored that you are bookmarking this!

      Just go ahead and play around with Photoshop or any photo editing software. It's really fun and you can never tell what kind of surprises you will discover.

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a beautiful comment!

      God bless!

    • salt profile image

      salt 6 years ago from australia

      Wonderful, creative, colourful. Its fantastic to see people with an eye for art that you cannot percieve!!!

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 6 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      I especially like the flower photo art. They look like beautiful oil paintings. Thank you for sharing

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Salt,

      Thanks very much for visiting and leaving a truly heartwarming comment.

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Fossillady,

      It's great to see you again!

      It's easy to make "oil paintings" with Photoshop. Try it, I'm sure you will have fun!

      You are very welcome. The pleasure is mine! I love sharing what I discover and learn.

      Thanks very much for your lovely comment.

      God bless!

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

      With the talent you already have, what great things you can do with these programs! Loved, seeing the modifications:0 They are great! Another wonderful hub, for our viewing:) Thank you!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello heart,

      What an inspiring thing to say!

      Thanks very much! You are making me very happy!

      God bless!

    • ronaldwoldenburg profile image

      ronaldwoldenburg 6 years ago

      Always wanted to get more into creating art from my photographs. This was great insight.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Ronald,

      That's great! I am happy that you got some insights from this hub.

      Thanks very much for your lovely comment!

      God bless!

    • megzi_24 profile image

      megzi_24 6 years ago

      i loved this!

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

      Hi Jill - the true artist! :)

      You find a way to make even the rejects beautiful - thank you!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Megzi,

      Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a lovely comment!

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Shalini,

      It's great to see you my friend!

      You always say the nicest things! Thank you very much!

      God bless!

    • Manna in the wild profile image

      Manna in the wild 6 years ago from Australia

      Well done. This is something I do as well ! But I use Gimp

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Manna in the wild,

      That's great! It's fun, right? I've heard of Gimp but since I already have Photoshop, I just use it.

      Thanks for dropping by!

      God bless!

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 6 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      I like playing around with Photoshop as well, you can get some great effects. Usually it is more luck than judgement but if you do something you don't like then edit 'undo' puts it back where you started. Nice hub.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Brian,

      That's great! You are absolutely right about that. You can just undo anything that you don't like and it will bring you right back to where you started. It's really fun!

      Thanks very much for dropping by and letting me know that you are having fun doing this too!

      God bless!

    • meteoboy profile image

      meteoboy 6 years ago from GREECE

      I like to play with photos. Especially with people and landscapes. I agree with you. Great hub.Thank you.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Meteoboy,

      Yehey, I have another playmate with photos. Actually, I am only discovering now the wonders of Photoshop, so I enjoy just playing around with it. In the process, I discover something nice and I eagerly share anything that I learn. I used to go "oh, wow!" about some photos made by an acquaintance but when I asked how he did it, he just gave a vague answer. Now I discover it's rather easy to create those kinds of photos.

      Thanks for your wonderful comment.

      God bless!

    • jtrader profile image

      jtrader 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your photos with us. You have suggested a beautiful option.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello jtrader,

      Thanks very much too for your wonderful comment!

      God bless!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks much for encouragement to work (play) with photography. Will be checking out more of your hubs.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello RTalloni,

      It's nice to see you again after some time!

      Just go ahead and play around with your photos! It's really fun!

      Thank you very much for your visit and lovely comment.

      God bless!

    • IN2Deep profile image

      IN2Deep 6 years ago

      This is very cool-I do this alot-It is wild.

    • Painter Penfield profile image

      Painter Penfield 6 years ago from Tampa Bay area Florida

      I like your Photo Shop examples. I love to do digital painting. I use Serif Photo Plus which is Photos Shop compatible and love it. I will try to create some hubs with my digital photos in them soon. You inspired me ;)

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello IN2Deep,

      Nice to see you again!

      Yes, it's fun, isn't it? I'd love to see your work too. Do you have some of them in your hubs? I'll go over there to check. By the way, I enjoyed the flowers in your garden.

      Thanks very much for the visit.

      God bless!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Painter,

      Your comment warms my heart especially since you are an artist!

      Thank you very much!

      I am looking forward to seeing your digital art.

      God bless!

    • Vishaaa profile image

      Vishaaa 6 years ago from Somewhere on this earth..

      Amazing idea.

      Though I'm interested about photography I never even clicked a photo up to now(I mean something professional except from my mobile camera pics) When I told my mom about buying a camera, she always looks at me in a weired way and say "you are crazy, you can't make a hobby as your life and spend a huge amount for that" :(

      I loved your art.

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hello Vishaaa,

      Nice to see you here!

      Just keep on shooting even with your mobile phone camera. My son does the same thing because he does not want to lug around a big camera. He has taken good pictures even with his mobile phone.

      Thanks for the visit and comment. Just enjoy what you are doing.

      God bless!

    • glorgeousmom profile image

      Glo L Bernadas 6 years ago from Philippines

      I wish I had found this hub much, much earlier. I could have turn my previously deleted photos into an awesome art.:)sigh!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Glorgeousmom,

      That's ok. Now you can keep photos that feel like deleting. You can then turn them into art.

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a beautiful comment.

      God bless!

    • profile image

      JEM 5 years ago

      ...more of a "how-to" article to me...

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      Hello JEM,

      Good day!

      Well, it is meant to be a "how to" article.

      Thanks for your visit and comment.

      God bless!

    • profile image

      joekreydt 5 years ago

      This is an excellent Hub on digital graphic design!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you so much Joekreydt! I'm happy you think so!

      God bless!

    • SanneL profile image

      SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

      Jill, you are a true artist!

      I'm bookmarking this one. Since I take a lot of photos myself your ideas will come to great use.

      I always like to read your creative and beautiful hubs!

      I wish you a Happy and Blessed New Year!

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      Hello SanneL,

      Wow, thank you so much! You just started my New Year beautifully with your wonderful comment!

      I wish you the best of everything this New Year will bring!

      God bless!

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Sounds like photo play instead of photography. Will be interesting to see what else you have written about. :)

    • jill of alltrades profile image
      Author

      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      Hello That Grrl,

      Well, it's really both photography and play, so you are right in calling it photo play!

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Do check out my other hubs, something might interest you.

      Thanks again!

      God bless!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 2 years ago from USA

      Oh my, I am quick to delete photos and never thought about turning them into art like this. I did start a "blurred" file for pictures that looked horrible. Now I see they might not be lost art after all.

    • profile image

      BarbaraCasey 2 years ago

      Hmmm... guess what I'll be doing this weekend... repurposing photos.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      You have some interesting effects here.

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