Plug-ins Can Help Create Painterly and Cool Effects

Think like a painter." That's what I suggested to the students who are attending the Bosque del Apache photography workshop that I and Juan Pons are currently teaching.

When you start to think like a painter, you might produce more artistic images.

Last night, while we were freezing our buns off at sunset, I was thinking like a painter. I wondered how a painter might capture the scene, which included sandhill cranes, the moon and a clear sky.

I took a few shots of the moon with my Canon 400mm DO lens w/1.4x converter which was mounted on my Canon 7D. Then I started to photograph the sandhill cranes with the same setup. I was looking for groups of three birds, following the "rule of odds" composition rule. (My composition class on Kelby Training will be up on December 12.)

Back in my toasty room, I created a montage in Photoshop CS5.

I used two plug-ins to remove some of the photographic reality from the scene.

On the sandhill crane layer, I first used the Midnight filter in Nik Color Efex Pro. Then, on the same layer, I used the Crisp filter in Topaz Adjust.

You can get a discount on Nik plug-ins (and some of the other plug-ins I use) and save on bundle on Topaz Labs bundles on my Creative Plug-ins page.

I added the drop shadow as a Layer Style in Photoshop.

I teach all this stuff on my workshops - shooting and using Photoshop (and Lightroom).

Above is  photograph I took at the "golden hour." I enhanced the color with the Bi-color User Defined filter in Nik's Color Efex Pro.

HDR plug-ins and programs can help you create cool images, too. 

Above: I used Photomatix Pro to create this cool image. Earlier this week I posted an HDR image of the same scene - minus the snow.

You can save 15% on Photomatix by using this code upon checkout: ricksammon.

Explore the light and think like a painter,