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Turn your photos into watercolors

Digital effect filters can give new life to your images

Here is the magic

On this very page you’ll see some examples of how the watercolor effect can be used to create interesting pictures, starting from uninspiring ones.

©Kochubey This Venice view was shot with a cheap compact camera

One of the key points in making watercolor images out of digital photographs is that you do not need to start with very good pictures. Quite the opposite, indeed: if you have some dull, dark, out of focus images, you can make them shine by processing them in many creative ways.

While not all photos are equal, and some might gain from such a treatment more than others, still I think that it could be fun to give it a try.
Also, it might turn out that you could even sell some of your best pictures online. So, I suggest you read on to the main tricks for making money out of your images.

Pink roses in vintage teapot


This stunning watercolor (click on the picture above to see it enlarged) was originally a very sad looking photo, shot with a tiny compact camera under a very bad light and on an even worse background.
All you need is the right digital filter.


Software effects

Digital photography filters today are not just those polished colored glass we used in the old days of film photography. Sure, such optical devices are still in use, and some of them are really very useful (polarizers and neutral grey filters above all).
But filters now more and more refers to advanced software tools which can create special effects of any kind. Many of them come in the form of plug-ins for the most common image editing platforms; they can make wonders.

See how this picture has been made out of a flat, dull shot. ©volkan

Next to the standard, default filters for editing your pictures, which you may easily find included in most image software such as Photoshop, Gimp, PicMonkey and more (see my list of the best free photo editing software), I suggest you cast a glance to Filter Forge, a plugin for Photoshop that allows you to build your own digital filters: textures, effects, distortions, backgrounds, frames, and a lot more.
On Filter Forge website see a short tutorial illustrating how to get a watercolor image from a photograph.

Explore further

There is much more than just watercolor effects to be used to greatest advantage.
Once you understand the high potential of digital imaging tools, an entire new world is open to you.
Software tools are many, and you just have to find your own way into them.

One more platform enabling interesting effects is PsykoPaint: as its website suggests, such tools can be successfully used by photographers, designers, and casual users alike, to add an edgy and different style to images.
Just be creative!

Two examples of what can easily be achieved with PsykoPaint.   Click on the pictures to see them bigger.

What then?

You might well try and sell your images!


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Ernst Haas
Master of evocative color photography, and more…