5 Fun Filters to Enhance Baby Photos in Adobe Photoshop Elements

Give Those Adorable Baby Photos a Fun, New Look

Baby photos are fun and it is easier than ever to snap pictures of your little one every time they do something cute or reach a new milestone. For some of those photos, you may want to add a special effect to give them a unique look and make them stand out in the scrapbook.

The great news is that it is easier than ever to customize your baby photos. There are many fun filter options available and this article is going to focus on a few simple filters that you can use in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Adobe Photoshop Elements is a popular image editing software that anyone can use. It is a scaled-down version of Adobe Photoshop, which is the software program used by graphic designers and professional photographers to edit their images. 

If you would like more information, About.com Graphics Software has a Photoshop Elements Tutorials page that covers this program in greater depth.

Add a Vignette

baby photo with filter
jenlinfieldphotography/Moment/Getty Images

A vignette is a reduction of the brightness and saturation of an image along the edges that helps “frame” the focal point of the photo. 

Many people associate vignettes with vintage photographs, but this technique can give an interesting look to modern baby scrapbook layouts.

To make a vignette using Adobe Photoshop Elements 13: 

  1. In the "Guided Edits" panel, choose "Photo Effects" then "Vignette Effect."
  2. Select either Black or White for the color of your vignette.
  3. Adjust the intensity of the vignette by moving the "Intensity" slider to make the vignette darker or lighter.
  4. Click "Refine Shape" and use the sliders to adjust the look and shape of your vignette. The "Feather" option will soften the edges and the "Rounder" option will change the size.
  5. When you are happy with the results, click "Done."

    To make a vignette using Adobe Photoshop Elements 7:

    1. Go to the top “Filter” menu and select “Render.”
    2. Choose “Lighting Effects” to open a box that will let you adjust the size of the vignette, as well as the intensity and focus of the light.
    3. When you find a look you like, click “OK” to return to your photo.

    Use the Texturizer

    One trend in the scrapbooking world is to print your photos on textured cardstock to give them a worn, slightly shabby look. You can quickly duplicate this effect in Adobe Photoshop Elements with the Texturizer filter.

    To add a texture using Adobe Photoshop Elements 13: 

    1. Open the Filter Gallery by choosing "Filter" in the top menu, then select "Filter Gallery."
    2. Click the arrow next to the "Texture" menu and choose "Texturizer."
    3. In the "Texture" drop-down menu, choose the texture you want. Canvas is the default and Brick, Burlap, and Sandstone are also available.
    4. Use the "Scaling" and "Relief" sliders to adjust the intensity of the effect.
    5. Don't forget to play with the "Light" drop-down menu. This will change the direction of the light falling onto the texture and move the shadows and highlights accordingly.
    6. When the image looks good to you, click "OK" and continue editing your photo.

    To add a texture using Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: 

    1. Go to the top “Filter” menu and select “Texture.”
    2. Choose “Texturizer” to open a box that will let you select various options for this look. The default setting is a canvas texture, which closely mimics the look of printing a baby photo on textured cardstock. 
    3. When you find a look you like, click “OK” to return to your photo.

    Create a "Painting"

    Have you ever looked at your baby and wished that you knew how to paint well enough to create a formal portrait? Mimic the look of a painting by using one of Photoshop's Artistic Filters. 

    There are a number of options available in the Artistic Filters. Favorites include Poster Edges, Fresco, Smudge Stick, and Watercolor and each will add a different effect to the image. Play with these options because a filter that works well with one photograph may not be the best for another.

    For this quick tutorial, we will look specifically at Poster Edges, which creates a graphic, poster-like look with black 'ink' outlines on the photo.

    To use Poster Edges in Adobe Photoshop Elements 13: 

    1. Open the Filter Gallery by choosing "Filter" in the top menu, then select "Filter Gallery."
    2. Click the arrow next to the "Artistic" menu and choose "Poster Edges."
    3. Use the "Edge Thickness" and "Edge Intensity" sliders to adjust the intensity of the ink outline effect.
    4. Use the "Posterization" slider to adjust the details in the color areas. A higher posterization will simplify the shading and give the colors a look similar to watercolor paint.
    5. When the image looks good to you, click "OK" and save you photo before doing any more editing.

    To use Poster Edges in Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: 

    1. Go to the top “Filter” menu and select “Artistic.”
    2. Choose “Poster Edges” to open a box that will let you select the options for this look.
    3. Play with the various settings until you find a look that is suitable for your picture.
    4. When you find a look you like, click “OK” to return to your baby photo.

    Add Brush Strokes

    Another option for giving that precious baby photo the look of a painting is to use one of the many Brush Strokes filters available in Photoshop. These will overlay a texture that mimics an artist's brushstrokes and they are a lot of fun to play with.

    There are a number of Brush Strokes filters available as well and you can have fun playing with each to get the look and feel that you want for each photograph. Favorites for baby photos include Dark Strokes, Angled Strokes, and Crosshatch.

    For this tutorial, we will look at the Dark Strokes filter, which will add contrast and brush strokes to the picture to resemble a pastel drawing. 

    To use Poster Edges in Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: 

    1. Open the Filter Gallery by choosing "Filter" in the top menu, then select "Filter Gallery."
    2. Click the arrow next to the "Brush Strokes" menu and choose "Dark Strokes."
    3. Use the "Balance" slider to adjust the intensity of the brush effect. A higher balance will retain more of the photo's details, which may be best for baby photos.
    4. Use the "Black Intensity" and "White Intensity" sliders to adjust the brightness of the highlights and shadows individually.
    5. When you like your new photo, click "OK" and save the photo.

    To use Poster Edges in Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: 

    1. Go to the top “Filter” menu and select “Brush Strokes.” 
    2. Choose “Dark Strokes” to open a box that will allow you to adjust the color balance and the intensity of both the black and white parts of the image.
    3. When you find a look you like, click “OK” to return to your baby picture.

    Get Hip with a Cutout

    Do you pride yourself on being a hip parent? Turn that favorite photo of your baby into an Andy Warhol-style print by using the Cutout filter in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

    The Cutout Filter takes away most of the photo's details and replaces them with simple colors. It is as if small pieces of paper have been cut out and layered on top of one another to create a graphic look. 

    For the right baby picture, this filter can create a very fun look!

    To use Poster Edges in Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: 

    1. Open the Filter Gallery by choosing "Filter" in the top menu, then select "Filter Gallery."
    2. Click the arrow next to the "Artistic" menu and choose "Cutout."
    3. Use the "Number of Levels" slider to adjust the intensity of the cutout effect. A higher level will create more layers of color and retain more of the details. 
    4. Use the "Edge Simplicity" and "Edge Simplicity" sliders to fine-tune the effect.
    5. When you have a new photo that you enjoy, click "OK" and save the photo, then continue editing if you like.

    To use Poster Edges in Adobe Photoshop Elements 7: 

    1. Go to the top “Filter” menu and select “Artistic.”
    2. Choose “Cutout” to open a box that will let you adjust the look to suit your preferences. Your colors will remain close to the original photo.
    3. If you want to create a more abstract look, go to the top “Enhance” menu and select “Adjust Color.”
    4. Choose “Adjust Hue/Saturation” to open a box with a sliding menu that will let you tint the photo to the color of your choice.
    5. When you find a look you like, click “OK” to return to your baby picture.

    A Note About the Adobe Photoshop Elements

    This article was originally written in 2010 using Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. As of 2015, the current version of this software is Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 and a few of the menus have changed. The steps for creating the effects in both versions of Elements have been included so that users of both the new and old versions can use it. Other versions of the software may differ slightly, refer to the help section of the version you use.

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