For some photographers it’s winter weather where they live and finding a good subject to photograph when it’s cold and raining or snowing outside can be difficult. Certainly, pulling on boots and jackets and braving the winter weather can result in some astounding snow or winter images. But, that is difficult for some people to do. You can, instead, use winter weather as a reason to interact with your existing images in a different way if you have software you have not grown accustomed to or yet used. Cold winter weather is a great reason to take advantage of the time to further learn existing software or to learn new software that you’ve always wanted to learn. Additionally, learning to create altered images with software can be quite fun and rewarding. Don’t despair if you can’t get outside, instead sit down and delve into all of the software you’ve bought and learn how to create new renditions of your images.
I have a lot of software, like many others, and some of it I know fairly well but there are several programs I don’t use often so in inclement weather I’ll sit down at the computer and bring up the program just to see what it might offer. As a Mac user I can easily and inexpensively pick up programs at the Apple store that are fun and creative to use and sometimes I’ll peruse the store to see what it offers. My current programs from the Apple store include Cartoonist, Collage Factory Free (a collage program), Color Strokes, Essentials Edit, iGreeting Card Deluxe, Intensify, Pic Frame (another collage program), Pic Sketch, Pixelmator, Postcard, Romantic Photo, Sepia Artist, and a few more. Obviously, I like software! I also use Photoshop, ON1, Topaz, Nik on occasion, and Smart Photo Editor at times. It’s fun to see what I can create with each program. I’ve also used Affinity and Luminar and have both of the programs but don’t use them for this reason as often as some other programs. My favorite software for artistic rendering of images is Topaz.
Once you learn a software program like Adobe’s Photoshop, you’ll find that many other programs work in a similar fashion or use similar commands. It does take a degree of skill to create the look you want but skill can be developed over time as you learn. Knowing a little bit about the elements of art can be helpful and reading almost any art book can help you learn more about color and what might look artistic to a viewer. Of course, as we all know, what looks artistic to one person may not look the same to another viewer. It’s important, when altering images, to have a goal in mind and to know what it is you want to accomplish and who your viewer might be; it’s always nice to create for ourselves, but it can also be fun to create for others to view and enjoy.
These altered images can make nice gifts for family and friends. Recently I created two posters for a friend based on the decorations in her newly acquired home and a couple of blank wall spaces that were not yet filled. Her home’s motif, while varied, had a somewhat Asian feel as many of her pieces sported an oriental flair. I created two posters whose colors and subject matched her interior and, when hung, were a wonderful addition to her home that her family and friends have commented on in a positive way. I do like it when my images spread joy to others and this is one way that I can do that. To create these posters, I used Topaz and Photoshop, working with Topaz to get the style I wanted and then Photoshop to add text the way I wanted it.
Most often, when I create these altered images, I’m just doing it for me as I find it fulfilling. I like to create and working with all of the different software programs gives me a chance to do that. At times, I’ll take a photograph and know at that point how I want to alter it in the software I have. I recently worked on an image that I took in Cuba, knowing when I took it that I would want to play with it at a later date to soften the image. I created several altered variations of the image and I liked all of them. I’ll often also play with different borders, I like the borders in ON1 best, but have recently discovered the borders in Topaz, too. I think adding borders to an image that will be used online can be a nice addition and it sometimes sets off the image nicely.
I photograph a lot of wildflowers, both near where I live and in my travels. Flowers can be wonderful to play around with in almost any program as can almost any natural object or plant. I often add backgrounds to flowers and plants, using purchased backgrounds, such as from Flypaper backgrounds, or from backgrounds I’ve shot through time. If I see a colorful wall or any textured surface I’ll take a quick shot, even with my cell phone. Flowers can make a wonderful photograph to use as needed to put onto a special card for family or friends. They are generally cheerful and sunny and might make someone feel better quickly just by seeing them on a card made personally for them.
There is no end to what you can create and to how you can use it. Posters, cards, a standard framed image, or an image viewed online, all can be enhanced by the personal creative touch of the photographer using a variety of software programs. Have fun, be creative, play and push your brain to learn and create. There are no rules when creating an altered image and it allows you to learn new ways to use your images to share with others and create joy with the beauty of your image. And, it will help to pass the time pleasantly until the weather outside improves and you can get out and take more images!
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