Turn your Photo Into a Work of Art - Artistic Photo Portrait

Dino Angelov writes about all things design and is the owner of a Free PSDs search engine.

Turn your regular portrait photo into a spectacular piece of art in this Artistic Photo Portrait tutorial.

Every one of us has already done the regular touch up, "photo enhancing" manipulation - but now it's time to take it to the next level. It's time to turn our photos into a true piece of art.

First, a huge thanks to Obliviate Stock for allowing me to use their beautiful Maggie 6 stock photo. If you don't have a photo handy, you should grab it as well and also make sure to check their gallery for some more great stock.

I'm also using this great set of Shadows Blood Brushes, thanks to Shad0w-GFX for making them.

Now that we've got all our necesarry resources ready, it's time to start the tutorial.

First, open up your photo in Photoshop.

Right click on the layer (likely called Background) and select Conver to smart object. This will keep the original photo and allow you to easily go back and change your effects later, without having to start with a new layer. Once you've done that, open up the Filter Gallery found under the Filter menu. Use the settings shown below for your first layer.

Hit the "new effect" button near the bottom right of the screen.

Choose the halftone pattern for the 2nd effect layer with the settings shown here:

And here's our first step being completed!

Make a new adjustment level above this layer - use Levels and set the same settings as shown below:

Our photo should now be a bit brighter and with less contrast.

Right click on the Levels layer you just made and select Create Clipping Mask. This tells it to only apply to the layer directly below it, and not affect anything else. Since this is our first layer, it's not really necesarry but it's a good trick to know.

Duplicate the Smart Layer (the one with the photo) and place it above all other layers. Now double click on the Filter Gallery sub-item on that layer.

This will open up the Filter Gallery again and you can edit your settings. Click on the top-most layer (the halftone one) and now select Ink Outlines (found under Artistic) and use the settings below:

This is the result we get.

We're only doing this to get some outlines on the original photo and to augment certain pieces not visible in the first layer, so not to worry, we're well on our way to that artistic portrait.

Change the top layer's blending option to multiply and change the opacity to 20%.

You can clearly see the outlines we added now, but we still need to make a few adjustments. We want to keep our white background, so we need to remove all the dark parts that darken our background. To do this, we'll add another adjustment layer, this time Invert, right above the dark layer. Now, this will affect all our layers below and that's not the effect we want. So we'll add a clipping mask to this layer as well (Right click > Create Clipping Mask). And there, we got our white background back.

There's a bit of a blue-ish tint on some parts of the image and since I wanted the photo to be black & white (grayscale), I added another Adjustment Layer (Hue / Saturation, and moved the Saturation slider all the way to -100), but if you prefer a bit of color in your design, feel free to leave it.

Now it's time to load up those brushes you downloaded at the begining of the tutorial. Set your foreground color to #be0000, create a new layer, choose the brush tool and pick the brush named "Sampled Brush #71", or pick one you like best. Apply it once on the new layer, near the face of the person in the portrait.

Now we need to add the texture layer, to get a more realistic painting look. Make a new layer and fill it in with a solid color. Go to Layer Blending Options, set the fill opacity to 0 and add a pattern as shown below:

The reason I'm making a new layer and adding the pattern through the style, is that it allows me to resize that layer later and still get a seamless pattern. If I had just filled the layer with a pattern, i would need to correct it every time I need to resize the layer.

And with that, our artistic photo portrait is done! Now it's just a matter of taking it somewhere to print it on canvas :) If like me, you're not yet ready to hang this masterpiece on your wall, you can add a simple frame in Photoshop.

Using the rectangle tool, make a frame around the photo. Then, just follow the settings used for the layer style and that's it.

I just added a nice signature to the bottom right to complete the effect. All done!