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How To Make Art Using Beginner Photoshop

Updated on March 12, 2013

A simple snapshot becomes something special

'THE TAKE OFF GULL'  a snapshot becomes a work of unique art by using image software, Photoshop basic skills
'THE TAKE OFF GULL' a snapshot becomes a work of unique art by using image software, Photoshop basic skills | Source

The Starting Point

Getting A Great Snapshot

On a beautiful sunny afternoon a gull floats into view, 'snap'! The moment is captured, deliberate and graceful, 'The gull taking off'. The brown sandy wall of stones behind the gull brings texture and shadows. The gull itself offers motion and form. Configuration of the action and subject fall where they should while the sun glances nicely from the gulls tail feathers. All making this simple snapshot a very interesting starting point for something special.

Where Is ArtBorn

Starting from a very touchy-feely place in our artistic being is where real art is born. The talent must be present or the skills and techniques just won't matter. So,we must get centered emotionally to search for the feelings that can show the artistic mind just how to take a snapshot to a place called, "art."

Today we will explore the skills and techniques that help us answer the requirements our talents demand. Technology is a fascinating thing to be a part of. But, before technology can help you create real art, you have to find where your talent lands within the measure of the technology available. Understand the artistic emotions living within you, and true art is just a few clicks and layers away.

Turning a Snapshot into Something Special

Three Steps To A Masterpiece

If we are going to turn a snapshot into something special, starting with a great shot like The Gull Taking Off , is essential. The three most important things to turning this snapshot into an emotion evoking piece of art are;

  1. What does an image make you feel
  2. Which style suits the artwork subject matter
  3. Keep the digital art interesting


A good original snapshot is the first step to creating a work of digital art. This is the original snapshot for the "The Take off Gull" artwork above.
A good original snapshot is the first step to creating a work of digital art. This is the original snapshot for the "The Take off Gull" artwork above. | Source

Making Art With PhotoShop

1. What An Image Makes You Feel

When determining the 'feel' of your work, recall the moment in which it was conceived. The gull spreads her wings lifting gracefully from earth. This would be something to highlight within the work. It brings us wonder, energy and is emotionally invigorating. So, bright warm colors are used to depict this energy. In this case, the color orange is used in contrast with the black and greys. Which is why the bright white tail feathers of the gull draws the viewers eye first thing. This also causes the gull to 'POP' center stage within the work. It seems that we feel the gulls energy through the color pallet. Like the gull, we are energized by the take off moment.

What Will You Do?

Are you going to try to turn your snapshots into a piece of digital art?

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2. Which Style Suits The Artwork Subject Matter

Looking at the snapshot and past the subject itself (the gull) we see many layers and textures. The shape of these create motion in the background of the shot. By seeing, not just looking at these qualities, we begin to imagine what the piece can become. By seeing what can be eliminated and what should remain we discover an imaginary outcome that feels natural.

In this case, by creating negative spaces (removing a portion of the snapshot) within the texture of the sandy hills, the natural shapes of light and shade bring movement and depth to the background of the work. We can see the layers of the hillside have now become an interesting look at how contrast brings movement and depth. The gull still remains the subject, only now we have stimulated the onlooker with both subject and depth. This style would seem to suit our subject in this particular artwork.

3. Keep Digital Art Interesting

The use of bright colors and textures keep the viewer engaged. The subject appears to be breaking free from the earthly connection. We have created many interesting points within the artwork. We found energy and movement when looking at the original snapshot. By using image software we have enhanced the brightness and contrast, removed portions of the picture to give it depth, and we have added layers to create motion. All-in-all we satisfied our need to create something special without compromising who we are within the digital artwork.

Big Cat Snapshot To Big Cat Artwork

Captive Lynx Big Cat - from snapshot to art image2
Captive Lynx Big Cat - from snapshot to art image2 | Source

Where High-Art And Technology Meet

High Art From A Digital Snapshot

With all of the image software and techno gadgets available to today's beginning digital photographer, it is difficult to keep up. These programs can get quite expensive. But, if you are beginning to take interest in digital photography the most important thing to remember is that with just a few techniques you can begin to satisfy the artistic technoid in you. If you want to save a few dollars, I have added a couple links to sites that offer free graphic design software. Keep snapping those shots and imagine how they fit into your artistic mind.


COmments for "Turn A Snapshot Into Art, Beginner Photoshop"

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  • wavegirl22 profile image

    Shari 6 years ago from New York, NY

    K9- once again you are have the best tricks for a beginner to learn photoshop! Please show us some more "how to" .

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I loved what you did with your photo and how it ended up using PhotoShop. I was just beginning to have fun with PictureIt! on our old computer and when we got a new one it did not transfer. Using what is now built in but eventually want to expand and have the kind of fun that you are having. You are definitely an artist! Rating this useful and beautiful.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

    Thank you Mae~ So pleased you enjoyed the hub. Quilting of any kind is something I have long admired. So traditional and such stories the finished art tells. Thank you for stopping by!

  • profile image

    maewallace22 7 years ago

    Oh wow, I really like this hub. Its like taking a class. I love art and I like putting things together to come up with something unique.I like to make quilted wall hangings. Keep hubbing.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

    Pam~ I am glad you stopped by. Good luck with your photography!

    Mikie~ Thanks for the read!

  • mikielikie profile image

    mikielikie 7 years ago from Texas

    great hub!!

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    K9keystrokes, this is very good hub I love your pictures. I appreciate the instructions.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    FCEtier, Thanks for explaining taking good digital pictures. I enjoyed this hub as I am trying to improve my picture taking skills.

  • K9keystrokes profile image

    India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

    FCEtier~ Thank you so much. With so many techno creations on the market I have actually heard it said that real art has become a thing of the past. I disagree. If we can continue to hold on to ourselves within the body of the work, it comes out on the other side as emotional, gritty and sometimes so ugly it's beautiful. This, no matter the medium, substrait or tools, is modern art,...and the very most modern of art indeed!

    Thank you so much for the read. I look forward to your next cyber-inked presentation my friend.

    Nellieanne~You flatter me so! I have seen your work, the motion and emotion it evokes is that of the masters. So fluid and warm. For you to speak of 'making note' in regard to my little hub-- well, humbling is the only word. I recall the software you speak of. PS and InDesign, Illistrator and many of the 3D programs available these days may have cool switches and flashy lights; however the great ones you speak of come from the generation of life. Where art and technology begin to create there own bloodline, a gene pool of tadpulls and cacoons brought forth the bright art of the day.

    Again, I am humbled and honored that you read my hubs. I am greatful for such masters (FCEtier and yourself) who make time for the simple words I put to page. Thank you for the read.

    ~always choose love~

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

    Great stuff! I note some good techniques though I can't qualify as a beginner. Been playing with it before there was PSP! Before Adobe came out with Elements. They had a great program called Photo Deluxe. I've missed it - but it wasn't upgraded past Win95 so the software I still have doesn't quite cut it now! haha. Anyway - it's so good of you to share these ideas and know-how! You're a most generous person!

  • FCEtier profile image

    Chip 7 years ago from Cold Mountain

    Thanks for reminding us that it all starts with that original image. Sooner or later, you've got to look through the viewfinder, frame a shot, and press the shutter release.

    Beautiful work here!