In this simple photo editing tutorial we’ll show you how to convert a photo of a reflection into an Impressionist work of art.
The Impressionists tried to recreate the experience of seeing, rather than capturing every detail. Well, today’s cameras capture an awful lot of detail, but as this quick and easy technique shows, you don’t have to make the most of every last pixel to get striking results.
If you want to take a photograph specifically for this project, you’ll need to find a gently rippling body of water. A river or lake with a colourful scene above is ideal.
The height you shoot from will affect your scene; at the level of the water the reflection will be longer but more blurred. Lift your camera higher and the reflection will be shorter, but also more sharp.
You will need the water to be fairly still. Use a tripod to hold the camera steady and allow for a longer shutter speed.
An exposure of two to three seconds will blend slight water ripples together. You may need to use Neutral Density filters to make longer shutter speeds possible.
Once you’ve shot an image, it will take no time at all to tweak it in Photoshop to make it look as if it was painted by one of the Masters.
Impressionist photography in 3 simple steps
01 Turn the world upside down
First, rotate your image. Go to Image>Image Rotation>Flip Canvas Vertical. Crop it so that only the reflection remains. You may need to adjust the rotation as you crop – move your mouse to the corners of the box to see the rotation icon, then drag to rotate the box.
02 Add some texture
Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate your image. With the copied layer selected, go to Filter>Filter Gallery>Textures>Texturizer. Choose how much grain in the paper you’d like (we used 109%), leaving the relief at 4. Hit OK. You can reduce opacity in the layers panel if needed.
03 Boost the colours
To boost the colours, hit the half moon at the bottom of the layers panel to add a Vibrance Adjustment layer. We increased Vibrance by 79 points. Next, add a Curves Adjustment layer and create a gentle S-curve to deepen the shadows and boost the highlights.
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