Transforming Photos into Digital Art

by Jana Morton

Taking photos can transform the way you see the world, spurring you to notice little details that might otherwise go unnoticed. Creating art from those photos is a way to express the feelings these photos evoke – and to communicate those feelings to others.


All designs in this article are by Jana Morton and use supplies from
Check out Jana’s gallery for details.

I discovered this in my quest to figure out how to scrapbook certain photos—photos that that I was hesitant to scrapbook because I loved them so much, I was worried about whether I could make a page that captured their essence, a page that was original and evocative enough to convey what I was feeling.

Using Photoshop, I found my way to scrapbooking the photos that deeply move me. Here are 3 ways for approaching the process of making digital art from a photo.

Highlight a moment

Some of my favorite pages take ordinary moments and make them extraordinary in their rendering. “One Person” and “Stop Time” are examples of this kind of page.

Try this:

  • Give a single photo center stage.
  • Create a background scene using digital papers, brushwork and blending.
  • Use blending to give the piece a “softer” feel – and thus emphasize the photo even more.


Combine photos in one seamless image

Bringing photos together in this manner can allow you to really capture the emotion of the photos themselves. What’s more, the photos combined this way tell a more complete story of a particular moment. “Write It” and “Cousins” are examples of this approach.




Make wall art

I originally used my photos on scrapbook pages or in simple frames around the house. As my proficiency with digital techniques has evolved, I’ve begun creating digital art that can be found in my home as well as the homes of my loved ones. As I looked at pieces of art on the walls of doctor’s office, the bank, the school, I realized my preference was to create art for my home from photos of the people and places I love. These are my absolute favorite types of gifts to give.



Yes these are scrapbook pages, but they are also digital art. Blending and digital backgrounds let me make settings that allow the photos to shine. You, too, can breathe new life into your photos using the tools in Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CS.

I encourage you to look at your own photos once again and find the art that is in your life. I guarantee it is there.


Find out more about Jana on her blog

6 Responses to Transforming Photos into Digital Art

  1. Beverly Schweppe September 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    These are so inspiring. Love all the blending. Thanks Jana!

  2. Tesia September 15, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

    This is wonderful Jana! I’m so glad to see you featured here and teaching a class! My jaw hit the floor when I saw you had a class…wish I could take it but can’t swing it this time around. Hopefully there will be another!! Bravo to you and your incredible talent! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

  3. Anke September 18, 2011 at 8:18 am #

    Just beautiful! You are such an artist, how wonderful to have you teach this class!

  4. whatnext September 18, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    lovely seeing your fabulous art here, Jana. phylis

  5. Janet October 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    I am so sorry to have missed your class on blending. I hope it will be offered at another time. I love your idea of “art”!


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