Getting Creative with Crappy Photos

Have you ever gone out to take photos and think you’ve taken some great shots only to look at them on your computer and go BLECH – those are terrible. Your initial reaction may be to hit the delete them. Or you can try some experimentation with getting creative with crappy photos.

For those of us like myself who are still figuring out the nuances of their camera equipment, crappy photos happen more frequently than I would like. I suppose it’s part of the learning curve. Rather than getting frustrated, more often than not I just laugh cuz some can be really bad. Then again, it makes the good ones and or the “happy accidents” so much more rewarding!

snowy pine branch with texture background
Snow covered pine tree branch with textured background.


Using Textured Backgrounds and Specialized Filters

Playing around with specialized filters in Photoshop is something I have been doing for some time. Mainly I’ve utilized them when working on design projects for clients. However applying them to photos has opened up a whole new channel for creativity. Photoshop has its own built in specialty filters. However, there are several third-party ones who’s effects I find much more interesting. The result may not be to everyone’s liking – but that’s why there’s vanilla, chocolate and strawberry!!

The above image of the snow covered pine tree branch with the textured background is a composite of several photos I had taken. One ultimately became the foundation for the textured background as the shades of green worked well. As for the snowy pine tree branch, well in its original form, it was kind of blah.

When it comes to learning about texture backgrounds, gotta send some props out to Matt K and his amazing texture blending course. Definitely worth checking out! It’s become an invaluable resource. I never considered being able to take a photo and make your own texture out of it. The possibilities are endless and you can get lost in exploring effects with different colors and brushes. Combine that with filters in Photoshop and the result is something like this snow covered milk thistle photo below.

snow covered thistle with abstract background
Snow covered thistle with abstract textured background.

Let it Glow!!

A favorite Holiday event is going to the Denver Botanic Gardens for their Blossoms of Light. It’s become quite popular over the years and it’s especially wonderful when there’s snow on the ground. Having not quite figured out the proper nighttime settings on my camera (total rookie), my glow photos were less than stellar. Colorful yes, but sharp no. More crappy photos to add to the collection!

Again the first inclination was to delete them. But then I began to play around with some of my fav specialized filters inside Photoshop to see what might transform or evolve. Below are some of the results. These glowing lighted orbs take on a whole new persona.

glowing orbs of lights
Glowing orbs of lights take on a whole new persona with filters.


Before You Hit the Delete Button…

So if you find yourself with a bunch of crappy photos, before you hit the delete button, try getting creative. Explore, experiment, get playful and have fun! You may be really happy with the results – AND find them far more interesting 🙂


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