The Magic of Turning Memories into Art

The Magic of Turning Memories into Art

Intro by Skip Cohen

We don’t usually share ideas on technique in the Marathon blog, but earlier in the year, Suzette Allen shared the post below about turning ordinary photographs into art. She makes a point that so often, many of you miss.

There are things you can do that you simply take for granted. To the world outside imaging, you’re magicians. You take intangible moments out of time and turn them into tangible photographs your clients can cherish forever. You literally stop time!

My favorite quote about photography is from the author, Jodi Picoult, and I’ve shared it before:

“This is what I like about photographs. They’re proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.”

The images below started relatively ordinary, but with the right skills, Suzette’s taken them to a new level to appreciate and enjoy. Plus, in the process, she’s sharing a technique with her readership. Granted, in this case, this is from her blog for photographers, but imagine the impact you could have on your blog, Facebook page, or Instagram, sharing the transformation of an image from ordinary to art with your target audience.

Now take these images one step further and check out Marathon’s Bella Art Prints. Here’s a way for you to bring art into your offerings this holiday season, giving your clients something unique to remember from the holidays of 2021.

It all starts with you planting seeds of new ideas with your clients. You’ve got to share your enthusiasm, skills, and your contagious love for imaging! Do it right, and you’ll see that same love from your audience!

P.S. And if you need a little help brushing up on your painting skills – start following Suzette. She’s got classes she offers all the time!


By Suzette Allen

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a mere snapshot that was quickly defended by a sweet defense– a comment to the tune of, “this is the last photo we have with mom. It was just out by the parking lot, but she looks so happy!” Don’t we all have a snapshot of a sweet memory- a dear pet or a favorite car we once had, or a dear loved one long passed?

One of the best ways to turn cherish those memories is to turn them into a beautiful image by painting it! I have quite a few stellar pet photos of my mom’s late cats and dogs, and a few relatives too, who only had a snapshot when they suddenly passed. For the funeral, we turned that tiny image into a gorgeous classic headshot with a few strokes of paint and some TLC!

Or—that grab-shot of your favorite day of your Italian Vacation… just a snap from the phone, right? There’s no reason you can’t turn them into meaningful art and cherished portraits that the whole family will adore. (here’s a gallery of before/afters with a few samples of this process)

Sometimes it is a matter of eliminating distractions or creating a new background. Painting the image gives you the option of creating anything and loosely adding strokes to hint at what it might be. I love this image of my friend, Cindy’s family. We literally grabbed this shot standing by the car in the parking lot after a Sunday lunch at Boston Market! Brother Steve was there and it just happened! Who cares what the background was- the magic smiles and warm hugs said it all! (and moving them to another location would have altered those smiles, no doubt!)

Both Cindy’s home and her parent’s too, have a tall pine forest out back; a gorgeous backdrop that would have been a perfect setting for this image. I simply added strokes to look like that backdrop and covered up all the cars! I then painted them with lots of detail especially on the faces, but less detail and looser strokes on the background. In the end, they loved it so much, each family member now has a lovely, framed canvas of this image in their home!

Memories are priceless and making them into ART that you can see on your walls and cherish every day is the perfect way to enjoy them for years! Think about images you cherish of loved ones or pets or cars or homes or just anything you never want to forget. Think about how you can turn it into Art and relish it even more….

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This article was written by
Suzette Allen

Suzette Allen, Lumix Ambassador and Adobe Influencer, is a long- time Photoshop instructor and Hybrid pioneer who continues to reinvent herself to stay current with the changing landscape of photography. Pursuing creativity by embracing technology has become a hallmark of her style and a continual driving force to share her creativity with the world. She passionately creates and shares her vision as a Photographer and Educator, being a lover of people AND photographic art!

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