Although the painterly impressionistic look can be achieved in Photoshop using special apps, there are ways to create and capture the effects through your lens. Below are four of the various techniques photographers use to give their photos interesting artistic effects.
Shake and Jiggle
In the following example, Gerald Sanders focused in on the scene and shook his camera with small, controlled movements. I consider this to be a trial and error technique, as it can take awhile to achieve sought after results. It is best to start with slower movements and adjust aperture and exposure settings as you go, until you capture the desired appearance. Note: to ensure you capture the desired painterly effect, it is important to turn off the vibration reduction feature on your DSLR camera.
The next picture was captured by Anne McKinnell using the blur zoom technique. She set her camera to shutter priority mode with a speed of at least a couple of seconds and smoothly zoomed in on the scene. This technique works better at night, but can be done during the day with a neutral density filter to block out some of the light. This is also a trial and error technique, as you may have to try different exposures and zoom movements before acquiring your desired final product.
The following picture was also taken by McKinnell. She used a macro lens, a Lensbaby, with a wide aperture opening for the shot. A telephoto lens works well for this technique too by using the lowest F stop number and zooming in on the scene from a distance. To create this effect, it is best to set the camera to aperture priority, focus manually on the part of the frame you want in focus and use colorful scenes.
This last picture was also captured by McKinnell. This technique gives photos an abstract painterly effect. It is achieved simply by using shutter priority mode, speeds of a half second or longer and using subjects that are in motion.
I really like the effects these techniques produce. I love the fact that they are abstract and or look like paintings, but you can still determine and identify the scenes or subjects. I plan to experiment with impressionistic effects and hope this post has inspired you to do the same. If nothing else, you should check out the first link below for some great creative ideas.