How to X-Ray a Photo

Written by aleksandra ozimek
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How to X-Ray a Photo
Your photographs can resemble X-rays taken at a doctor's office. (x - ray image by Sandor Kacso from

A photograph with an X-ray effect resembles the X-rays a radiologist makes in a doctor's office. However, giving a photograph the X-ray effect simply requires a photo-editing program and a special filter with the ability to turn an existing photograph into one that looks like an X-ray. Some cameras take photographs with an X-ray filter so that no editing is needed. However, with the right software, you can give any photograph, old or new, the appearance of an X-ray.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Digital photographs
  • Computer
  • Photo-editing software

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  1. 1

    Transfer pictures from your camera to your computer via USB cable or a card reader if you haven't done so already.

  2. 2

    Open up a photo-editing program like Photoshop or any other photo-editing program that can make photos look like X-rays. In Photoshop, there is a filter that turns either the entire photo or a selection of the photo into what resembles an X-ray.

  3. 3

    Use a lasso tool or wand to select parts of the photo that you want to apply the X-ray effect to. If you want to turn the entire photo into one with an X-ray effect, select the entire image. When the image or image parts are selected, there will be blinking dashes around the perimeter of the selection.

  4. 4

    Saturate the photograph so that it is black and white. In Photoshop, select Image> Adjustments> Desaturate.

  5. 5

    Select either the X-ray filter or a similar filter. Photoshop for example, does not have a direct X-ray filter. To achieve a photo with an X-ray effect, use the Glowing Edges filter. In Photoshop, select Filter> Stylize> Glowing Edges in the main menu.

  6. 6

    Adjust the effect of the glowing edges using the adjustment levels that appear on the right side when the filter is applied to your photograph. Set the smoothness level between 2 and 3 to have a more detailed X-ray lookalike photograph. Save your work.

  7. 7

    Make any adjustments to your photo if it still doesn't look right. Adjust the levels and colours, or even give it a blue-green or grey tint. It might not look perfect, but your photograph should now have an X-ray effect and resemble a real X-ray.

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