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Simple Photo Edits to help Improve your Painting.

acrylic how to paint paintings Photo edits

Want to make your paintings more dynamic, need ideas on what to paint, not sure if that colour scheme will work? Here are some simple tips on editing your photos to help your paintings really work.

Now I'm not talking photo shop or whatever here, Just the simple editing you properly already have on your phone. This is what I use for all my reference photos when I am out and about, because whoever remembers to take their camera with them anyway. 

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My number one tip is - wait for it! - Use the black and white function on your phone edit.

Why? I hear you ask. Getting your tones right is so important to making a successful painting.

You can turn your reference black and white to see just where the highest contrasts are or to see if you need to change the tones for your painting so it tells the story you want to tell. ( Where do you want the viewer to look? )

You can also use this function on paintings you are currently working on to check as you paint. If you have a painting that you just don't think is working but you don't know why. Try taking a photo and then changing it to black and white, you may be surprised at the result. You can then check if your contrasts are in the right places or is it actually just lots of grey and you don't have enough contrast. Sometimes it's hard to tell with all that colour in the way.

What if you took a painting and edited it to negative does it look interesting now.
Here is one of my daisy paintings that I have changed to negative. Wow I like that. Maybe I should paint one like that!


What if you took a photo and really turned up the colour saturation hmmm.... interesting

Night Scenes.

  • Or what about if you want to do a night scene, can't paint in the dark! I've got a setting called drama and then it gives me a dark 1 and dark 2 options hmmm.... this is interesting too.

Colour Scheme Ideas.
Maybe you want to try out different colour schemes. Make it more dramatic or abstract or enhance the mood of the picture by using mono toned colour you can edit that too and see what it looks like before you commit your self to paint.





Painting Sunsets

So what if you are painting that beautiful sunset but you are having trouble with the cloud shapes, sometimes they look all blurred together in that bright glow of the sun. Play around with the warmth button and the saturation button. Now you should be able to see those cloud shapes. On this example you can also see where the light is hitting the grass and trees that you could not see before I used this when I was painting "Morning Walk".





There are lots of possibilities even with very simple phone edits. Have a play and see what you come up with.

 Make a Series 

You could use just one photo and see how many interesting looks you can come up with.
 Look you have just created a whole series for you to paint. When you paint a whole series like this it can really free up your creative side. After painting the same scene a few times you will be really familiar with the shapes you are painting and will not have to worry so much about if that hill is the right shape or is that tree in the right place? Instead you can concentrate on being really creative in your use of colour.

Oh I'm getting myself all inspired now. Think I will take my own advice and go play with my photos.

Love to hear how you use photo editing to help your painting. If you don't, try it out and tell me how you get on.    

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