Skip to main content

Creating Painterly Photographs

Lesson 18 of 21

Dancing Flower Technique in Photoshop

Kathleen Clemons

Creating Painterly Photographs

Kathleen Clemons

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

18. Dancing Flower Technique in Photoshop

Lesson Info

Dancing Flower Technique in Photoshop

Let's take this multiple exposure in Photoshop up one more level, by doing what I call the dancing flower technique. This is a magnolia and it looks a little bit like it's dancing on its own, but lets open it up. Let's start with a new layer. Okay, this ones already got what I had done to it so let's get rid of those, 'cause I wanna show you step by step with this. I've been seeing a lot of this type of effect on the internet and it was killing me to know how people did it. Do you ever have that? That's like, oh, how'd they do it? And they didn't share, so I started playing around in Photoshop a little bit. You make a new layer and then go back to that around the 30%. And then, take those transform controls and instead of just twisting you try stretching them out a little bit. And stretch this part out a little bit. And then, you go in and make a layer mask and erase that off the part where you don't want that dancing effect. Yeah, no wonder, my opacity's only at 30%. I'm like why isn'...

t it erasing? There. So, you go in and play. I don't want any effect right here in the core part of the flower. You can see that now I've got multiple petals in the back and I can take some of those out at different opacities. I can pull down and make them a little less obvious. Then I can just do it again like we did before, Control J. Maybe this time I wanna pull them out this way, or maybe twist those petals a little bit, like that. And then, I can go in again, clean my stem up. If it's too much, I can pull some of them back. But, I've been playing with this effect a lot and I'm really liking it. I love the feeling of dance that it creates. We'll go from this with all these dancing petals to just a simple single flower. Let me show you some examples of other flowers that I've done with this technique. I went from this to this. Here's the original and I did the same thing, just stretching the pebbles out and twisting them and playing with my layer mask at different opacities. Keeping some petals so it's not as obvious, getting rid of others, and then I put a texture on the background. And that's, I think a really different image than that. It's really not complicated and it's really your personal taste about how much you like, how much movement you want to create, how many extra petals, and that's why I call it the dancing flower technique. Here's the original of a magnolia that I shot, and then I added some more petals and a texture. So, from this, to this, with a really simple technique. It doesn't take a lot of time. So then, I started thinking about this and thinking about other ways that I could play with this. There I go asking myself again what would happen if? I started thinking what if I cloned some of these petals at a low opacity instead. Hmm. So let's find out. Let's open this up, and a new layer of course, and I'll grab my clone tool. Some people don't know that you can change the opacity of the clone tool, when I figured that out it was mind blowing for me (laughs), 'cause I was cloning at 100%. And to find out that I didn't have to was pretty big. Let's go down to about 30% again and we're gonna need to get a decent sized brush. More than that, this. Let's go to 800. So I can come over here and I can grab this set of petals, and I can create more at a low opacity. You can put some down here. You can even change the direction of what you're cloning. So it can be very subtle. You can make a layer mask and take some of that out. I think it's a very similar effect to what we just did, just want this, but quicker and a little bit easier. We went from just the plain flower to the dancing flower just with the clone tool. Just a simpler way of doing it, less involved, less layers, less time consuming. I just started with this technique this is the only one that I've done with it so far, but I like it. Here's the finished shot, when I really took the time to play with it. So, from that, to that. And I added a texture, and that's all I did, was clone petals at a low opacity.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Make yourself stand out among nature photographers by adding a new dimension to your images. Painterly techniques draw attention to the delicate patterns, lines, textures, and designs that we often overlook in the natural world.

Kathleen Clemons is an experienced nature photographer, known for her creative techniques and her unique, stunning compositions. 

Join Kathleen for this class, and you’ll learn:

  • How to achieve the painterly look in-camera with slow shutter, selective focus, Lensbaby, and multiple exposures.
  • How to evoke the painterly look in Photoshop with panning.
  • How to use Topaz Impression and NIK software to make painterly photos.
In this class, you’ll learn how to create painterly images by using a wide variety of techniques. Kathleen will show you how to apply effects using in-camera settings, different lenses, Adobe Photoshop®, and low-tech tricks like applying vaseline to filters. Capture the magic of nature and turn your photography into remarkable impressionistic art. 



Wow. I really loved this class. I took her other class, "The Art of Flower Photography" as well. She is very thorough, explains concepts clearly and is professional, yet kind. I have been doing photography for decades, but flower photography is a little bit of a different animal. I have found it to be extraordinarily challenging - which is also invigorating! At the same time, using Kathleen's principles, I feel like I now have basic rules and tools under my belt which I did not have before. This is a little humbling as I have been doing photography for so long and was surprised there were a few basic concepts I didn't "get the memo" on. haha. This class will save me heaps of trial and error time. I will be much better able to zero in on what I really need to work on. I actually recommend taking both her Creative Live courses. Yes, there is a bit of overlap - but that little bit of repetition is actually helpful. They are not the same class. Oh, and one more "perk" get to view some of the most stunning flower photography ever created. Masterful. Thank you, Kathleen.

Donna Macri Stevens

As I've been watching this class, I have literally been sitting at my computer and saying aloud, "Wow....WOW!" This is an absolutely amazing class!!! I began watching it while it streamed, but had to buy it. Kathleen is an amazing instructor, and she is SO generous with her tips and techniques. I love that she supplemented her instruction with on-site videos, in class photo manipulation and so much more. If you love flower photography or want amazing tips on how to make your photos more painterly, CLICK BUY NOW! I'm just blown away! This is a GREAT, GREAT class!


Kathleen's images have a very artistic and painterly character, so she is a great presenter for this subject. In this class she openly shares many of her methods of shooting to create in-camera artistic images (even with your phone) as well as post-processing techniques. She presents this material with her open, calm, strong and passionate manner that gives you an "artistic license" to experiment and discover "What happens if?" I have admired her work for a long time and am so excited that she shares the secrets of creating her enchanting images here. If you are interested in capturing images that go beyond what you see to incorporate how you feel about a subject, you will love this class!