Playing With Pictures

This is a photograph I took the other day on my way home from the supermarket. I thought it quite atmospheric, the way the sky was reflected in the water, the boat and two men silhouetted against the rippling clouds.

IMG_2223

I published a post a little while ago about using stock photography, and another about using images on books and blog posts, and then talked a little bit about using our own photography where possible. It’s quite easy to manipulate images to create different effects, so I thought I’d have a play with this one:

Canal boat MarkerThis is a marker effect,

Canal Boat WatercolourThis is a watercolour sponge effect,

Canal Boat ChalkAnd this is a chalk drawing effect with the edges blurred, making it look like an old photograph.

Each of these effects took just minutes to do, and I did them in Microsoft Word, saving the altered images as JPEGs. I think each effect creates quite a different feel for the images, and they’d work quite well as a book cover or story image. What I like about doing this is the fact you don’t need fancy software or loads of expertise to make an interesting image for your blog or book cover – rather, you just need to be able to see the potential in a photo you’ve taken, then play around with different effects.

Hope you’re all enjoying Sunday – wishing you a happy week! πŸ™‚

48 thoughts on “Playing With Pictures

  1. Nice picture! I agree, you can do a lot with simple, free programmes. I do have access to a decent one of Nick’s providing, but I only ever use the freebies.

    1. Thanks, Sue. I’ve heard Inkscape is quite a good freebie, but I’ve yet to try it. I tend to leave all the techie cover stuff to my brother, as he has all the software. But I do like to play around with photographs πŸ™‚

      1. I get to do the covers, but now I’ve had a bit of practice, I find the freebies are fine for that too… at least for the stuff we write. πŸ™‚

      2. Thank you πŸ™‚ It’s been a bit of a joint effort – I did the illustrations of the sword and the cup, and he pulled the other elements together (after we discussed the look I was going for). But we seem to be on quite the same wavelength, so it works well as a design relationship πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, super easy – basically you just select the image and choose a filter. You can also change the colour or edges. So, nothing too fancy, but you can get some nice effects with the right photo. And as so many of us use Word, I thought it a useful tip to share πŸ™‚

  2. Great effects using word. I click using my phone and that’s why I edit using apps. I find it very easy to edit pictures for all kinds of effect.
    I have to say that your picture is gorgeous. Getting to see something like that on a normal day, sounds very lucky to me πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much, it was a lucky photo, I think – the reflection in the water was what caught my eye. I use my phone for photos as well, and do sometimes edit using apps, but mostly I like to download the pics and play with them on my computer, see what I can do with them. πŸ™‚

  3. Reblogged this on Suzie Speaks and commented:
    Here’s a useful post (with several useful links) about editing images for a blog post from Helen. Please don’t like or comment on my reblog, hop on over to Journey to Ambeth and say hi!

  4. Couldn’t agree more on seeing the potential of a photo. However, my haphazard blurry phone shots don’t quite cut my mustard! :p. I love the ethereal feel to unsplash photos though. AND I love what you say about the fact you can create so many different looks with just one photo. SO TRUE

    1. Yes, that’s what’s cool about it. Even if your photo is blurry, with effects you can still make it look cool. And I take photos with my phone too – though I’m thinking of investing in a camera soonish…

      1. Yes – I quite like the images I get on my phone, but it doesn’t do close detail well. My dad has a really nice digital camera, takes beautiful shots, so I might look at something similar. I do have a very old Pentax with zoom lenses that belonged to my grandfather, and that’s a different quality of image again.

  5. I don’t use sophisticated software either, just what comes with my Mac. It can do so much, and it only takes a few minutes. The problem is when you take hundreds of photosβ€”as I tend to!β€”and only have so much time, and have to choose which ones to edit! x

    1. Oh yes, you and me both! πŸ™‚ And I’m behind in visiting your Midweek moments – I saw the last one, but haven’t got across to comment yet. Hope you’re still basking in agent glow πŸ™‚ x

      1. Still grinning! Don’t worry if you don’t get time to visit/comment on my blogβ€”I know how busy writers are! I meant to say, I especially love the last filter: chalk drawing effectβ€”it looks authentically old. Beautiful! πŸ™‚

      2. Thanks Louise. And you know I feel the same way πŸ™‚
        The chalk effect surprised me, actually – I didn’t think it would give it such a vintage tone. I really liked it too!

  6. Long time no see, Helen! It is always a pleasure!

    Thank you for sharing. This is awesome. I love that even a novice like myself could play around with something like this, and create memorable images, and in minimal time, too! Very cool. I had no idea that you can do this in Word.:)

    1. Thanks, Dustin – I always enjoy your visits to my blog, it’s nice to see you πŸ™‚ Yes, it’s a really simple thing to do, and fun as well – you can just change things and mess around with the click of a button. Word is a program that makes me scream in frustration at times, but I do think the photo edit function is pretty good, simple as it is.

    1. You’re very welcome πŸ™‚ Yes, Word has a few interesting functions, but then Bill Gates started off working at Apple – maybe a few of their ideas stayed with him? Hope you have fun trying the photo function πŸ™‚

      1. When you bring your photo into Word and select it, there should be a tab in your toolbar called ‘Format Picture’ (hopefully this hasn’t been changed), so you click on that and all the filters etc are there. Or you can right click on the photo and select ‘format image’ from the drop down menu that appears, then a dialogue box comes up with all the same filters. Hope that helps!

    1. Oh, I did a photography class in college too, but it was so long ago it was with film and developing pictures in the darkroom etc haha! Then I worked as a photography producer for a while, so I learned a bit about the difference between digital and film images. Now of course there are degrees of difference in digital as well though, like you, I love a black and white photo – hearkens back to a simpler time πŸ™‚

      1. Working in the darkroom was cool! It was also awesome to work with my mom’s camera, which was a couple of years older than me. You had to wind the film up by hand!

      2. Oh yes, my grandad’s camera is like that too! It’s tricky to get the film to ‘catch’ at first, at least that’s what I found. But it does take photos with a lovely soft quality to the light. Might have to get it out and play again soon.

      3. You totally should! I haven’t been really taking pictures for a while. My current camera is pretty old, and the only memory card that works for it is darn near impossible to find because I can’t use a high capacity memory card on it. I kind of miss using film though.

      4. Yes, there’s an element of surprise to using film, isn’t there? You never quite know how it will turn out. Will you get your mom’s old camera out?

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