How to Quickly Turn a Photograph Into a Painting in Photoshop

On this quick and video tutorial, Photoshop product manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes takes a look at a simple but creative way of turning a picture into a painting.

Hughes admits that when he was younger he wanted to paint but lacked the talent so he turned his creative powers to the digital world.  On this video he shows us how even without any special knowledge in painting you can turn any image to something which looks like it was hand painted in a few simple steps.

Hughes starts by using two different tools which he doesn’t recommend using normally on images but are useful for preparing some images for conversion into paintings – these are the shadows / highlights (under image>adjustments) as well as HDR toning (the same place). For creating the actual painting look you go into the filter gallery and water color.

For the second image Hughes uses a different technique based on Camera RAW and he also explains how you can use this method to save this as a preset for use with other images in the future to create the same effect quickly.

Our own personal taste on the rare occasions when we do turn an image into a painting is to be very minimalistic – over doing this never looks good – but this is a matter of personal taste so play with this and see how it goes – it is really simple.

You can find many more Photoshop video tutorials on LensVid’s Photoshop section. You can also check out all of Hughes previous videos on this dedicated page.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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