August 16, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,
Creative Freedom
This evening’s post is two-part (I’ll explain the second part after my edits). First of all, you didn’t think I’d miss a week of Branson’s Edit Me Challenge, did you? This week’s SOOC shot is provided by Amber at Amber’s Articles. So far, I’ve seen some gorgeous edits, but I love a good challenge. Here’s her SOOC shot (left):

After seeing a few of the other edits for this week’s photo, I decided to take different turn (alright, so I’m completely aware that I take a different turn on every photo – it just seems to easy to run a clean edit). Actually, I wanted to do a circular edit…it just didn’t work out exactly as it did in my mind. For my first edit, I went through the following steps:

  • Straightened the image
  • Invert Layer, Hard Light Blending Mode, 100% Opacity
  • Threshold Layer (255 threshold), Soft Light Blending Mode, 28% Opacity
  • High Pass Filter, Soft Light Blending Mode, 80% Opacity
  • Gradient Map Layer (red/green), Soft Light Blending Mode, 48% Opacity
  • Blue Photo Filter (30% density), 56% Opacity
  • Brightness/Contrast Adjustment
  • Hue/Saturation Adjustment
  • Levels Adjustment
Amber Edit 2 blogWhat typically happens with my edits is that I save them as a .psd file and walk away. This allows me time to think and regroup. In some cases, I walk back and I like what I’ve done…save, complete. In other cases, such as today…I wasn’t completely satisfied. Here’s what I did for my second edit (submitted for judging):
  • Used straighten image from first edit
  • High Pass Filter, Soft Light Blending Mode, 100% Opacity
  • Duplicate High Pass Filter, Hard Light Blending Mode, 100% Opacity (just on the boats)
  • Background Duplicate, Difference Blending Mode 100%
  • Brightness/Contrast Adjustment
  • Invert Layer, Normal, 100% Opacity
  • Deep Red Photo Filter (25% density), 100% Opacity
  • 3 Layers of Texture (I failed to document the names)
With both edits, I used blog-it frames by The Album Cafe. So, what do you think? Do you like either…or neither? Amber Edit 1 blogAt the beginning of this post, I mentioned that there were two parts. Here’s the second part…

Yesterday, I received my first assignment for Kat’s Find Your Eye: Journey of Recognition class. You may remember that I recently took the first class in her Find Your Eye series a few weeks ago. One of the tools she uses in each class is a photojournal. This week’s prompt is to consider some of the rules or limitations we face as an artist.

I initially made a note to myself to discuss this prompt later in the week. However, as I worked through the Edit Me Challenge this evening, I found myself thinking about many of the rules that I often feel so restricted by as an artist. For example, I love a nice and clean processed image…I love natural processing that enhances the reality we see through our camera’s viewfinder. I equally love taking an image and digitally creating a work of art. I am inspired by photographer artists like Anika Toro and Katie Lloyd (amongst many others) who see the world as a giant canvas. Just as I swoon over a technically correct photograph, my heart leaps when I see a digital creation that stretches…even leaps out of the box.

Why do I even bring this up? I guess part of me gets a bit self-conscious when I put myself out there creatively. [By the way, I’m not necessarily talking about portrait work – I do think it’s a good idea to have some consistency if you’re working with clients…and you have to pay special attention to skin color, the red channel, etc. This is more about creative work.] Will they like my creation or will they just tell me to stick with my SOOC shot? I know all the rules: exposure, aperture, shutter speed, rule of thirds, focus, etc…but sometimes the rules are meant to be broken.

With all that said, I hope you are inspired and encouraged to bend…break…un-follow the rules. I can teach you all day long how to edit in Lightroom or Photoshop, but in the end, you should be proud of what YOU’VE done. That’s all.


    I really like how the sailboats come to life in both images. They completely disappear in the original.

    “In the end, you should be proud of what YOU’VE done.” This is a wonderful piece of advice. I often struggle with self-confidence with my photos mainly because I’m worried about what others are going to think. I’m definitely learning to let go of that fear and just be proud of my work! It’s a process for sure! Thanks for the reminder!

    I agree with you … we need to be proud of we’ve done.
    My feeling is photography is an art in many many different forms!

    They both look like artwork! I really like the frames. Great job!!

    The first one is a very unique edit, especially the first one. You completely transformed it from a dramatic image to an image that looks more like a sailboat coasting through the Caribbean post storm. I love the way the sailboat pops, but I must admit I miss the darkness of the storm cloud.

    I like the cool colors of the second one and the texture of the clouds. It def. has a more artistic feel. Lovely. And thank you for straightening the horizon.

    I am so grateful that you put yourself out there. You have inspired hundreds, possibly thousands of people to think outside the box. You have been open in sharing your growth, your knowledge, and your faith with us and for that I am EXTREMELY grateful.

    Wow, I love both of your edits! The 1st one is way different than how I think most people would tweak that picture… and that’s awesome! The 2nd edit looks like a water color, gorgeous!

    I’m with you btw, I think rules are made to be broken! I really dislike hearing about all the rules of this & that… Why? WHO says so?

    love the edits, both! and yes, I believe rules are made to be broken at times :)

    That is a spectacularly amazing shot by Amber and these are both awesome edits!! I am especially loving that first edit though…super cool.

    And I have to say, I am pretty tickled that you labeled me a “photographer artist” because I’m planning to join in with the 31 Days series in October and it will focus on artistic-ness…perhaps I’ll announce it formally on the blog soon. ;)

    First, I like what you did with your edits. The top one would look even cooler with some inks added to the actually print!

    I think it is funny how rules in photography change and evolve. Back in the day when Aunt June cut everyone’s head off in a picture she was a bad photographer……..

    The first edit is absolutely amazing.

    I am drawn to the first one, but they are both lovely. I just picked up the book “Art and Fear” by David Bayles for this very reason. It’s hard for me to be confident when I try something different. You are an amazing artist and I think it’s great that you go out of your natural comfort zone to create something unique. Go you!

    Great advice Ashley! A person can have all of the technical knowledge and have a “perfect” photo, but sometimes that just doesn’t make a bit of difference. Making them beautiful to yourself is what matters!

    My comment disappeared so forgive me if this shows twice! I love both edits and think each could be sold as a lovely print. And…I wish you really could teach me PS all day long! :) Your work is inspiring.

    I agree that it’s fun to break the rules. It truly doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as you love what you produce.

    There’s something mysterious about your first edit that I really love. I think the orange case in the clouds works for me. Great job!

    Fun edits, Ashley. I really like the blues in the second edit.

    i love your first edit and like your second.. but I am a rule breaker.. so what tthe heck do I know.

    I prefer the second, but they’re both great — as are all your edits.

    i loved both your edits.. and I must say what a great post.. honest and thoughtful.. I have to agree with what you said. get inspired, break the rules, not everything fits nicely into a box. Art comes in many forms, the medium is everchanging, the artist is always evolving..thats life too, we all grow and the art we create whatever it is should grow with us.. I definitely try to live my life like the free spirit that I am and my hope is that comes across with the photos that I take. I truly enjoy viewing other photos, other peoples styles. if everyone were the same this world would be boring, and its our uniqueness that makes it all interesting, we should celebrate that more often!!!

    I love your creative edits. I think my favorite is the second one. So very true about breaking the rules but needing to be consistent with clients.

    Great post! I love when you leap out of the box. Knowing how to break the rules and still make things beautiful is a gift. I love both edits but especially the first one, the colors are amazing

    Ashley, we have a similar struggle, but in the end, I’ll always vote for more creativity. I love these edits!

    Your edit and inverted coulours reminded me of Pirates of Carribean “Up is Down” ;-)

    Yay! Great post Ashley. It can feel like a big risk to put yourself out there artistically, especially breaking the “rules” as you do so. That you continue to stretch and put yourself out there, even outside your comfort zone, is a great example of working through the “rules” that you picked up along the way. I’m so happy to have you in class! I love that this just came to you today. :)

    Beautiful!! Love that first one best but they are both great edits.

    Thanks so much too…it’s very flattering for me to be called an inspiration and coming from a talent like yourself it really makes me feel great and more confidant to keep up with what I am doing.

    That struggle of feeling confident is something I have felt too. Funny how it’s hard sometimes to present what WE like best isn’t it? It’s good to think about though as I think it’s probably the best way to get over that feeling!

    Great post and again, thanks for thinking of me in this way as it really does empower me to be comfortable with my art…just like what you are saying…and affirmation is awesome. Be comfy with what you do-your skills shine through whether you are in your comfort zone or out ;)

    I love love the last one. In the first one middle of the sky is too heavy dark for my taste. The other one is like light watercolor. GOOOOD job Ashley, more of these creations:)

    I love your post. Today has being a hard day. A day of thinking, feeling… questioning. I guess we all feel this way sometimes.
    I love your processing and #2 is my favorite.

    Yep, sometimes I worry about breaking too many rules or going crazy with editing… but I do it anyway… :)

    I love both these edits, but probably the first more because it is so different then all the other’s I’ve seen. Great job. :)

    Marla @

    Both of these edits are great, but I really love the colors of the first one!

    Whoa… you completely, utterly, and wholly transformed that picture and made it something beautiful! Great job, Mrs. Sisk!

    Interesting thoughts on rules and breaking them.. I think it is important to enjoy and be proud of your own work whether you follow the rules or not.

    Great great post. Love your edits also. I completely agree that sometimes rules are made to be broken. I also feel the same way at times…that people might “prefer” the clean edit but I love the artistic edits!

    I liked reading your thoughts on rules, having just considered them myself. Not easy, gotta dig deep.
    Your last couple lines though…that says it-you’ve said it to others, don’t forget to say it to yourself. I know I struggle with that at times.
    As for your edits-Q for Queen, remember. I like both and am looking forward to the day when my mind can even think to bend an image and think it “good”. I like the orange hues in the first and the pink hues in the 2nd. Both appeal.
    Have a great day.

    I absolutely LOVE your first edit!

    Oh wow, I love them both! But I think I’m more drawn to the first one because it’s so different… love the inverted colors.

    HOLY WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That first one is the coolest thing I think I’ve ever seen! The colors – WOW! The clarity – double WOW! Seriously, can’t even believe you could turn that SOOC into something like this! Very impressed, my friend!

    Wow. GORGEOUS first edit. I love it.

    beautiful edit! She is too cute, I love her freckles!

    That edit = WOW. love it!

    Both great edits, but something about the first one really speaks to me!

    I wish I could have kept going in the classes~someday because that first one was awesome~but at the same time I am still processing and mulling over what was presented in the first class. Clean vs creative edits~something I think about a lot~I feel like creative edits belong to the artists which I am not, but I love playing with my photos.

    I love the first edit!

    Really like the way the inverted edit turned out.

    Ashley, you are seriously awesome! I love your edits (especially the first one) for the Edit Me photo challenge!

    OK – so I ditto Amber and Karli’s comments. :-D They said it best already!

    Hugs and love!

    oh goodness! these edits are spectacular!
    I’m partial to the golden tones – I think because this would look fabulous in my living room stretched on a canvas!
    I’m from FYE-Journey & want to look around your blog!I can see I’ll be learning a lot from my classmates.

    What I love about your editing it looks like modern monet paintings…so artistic, dreamy, foggy – very gifted Ms Sisk!


    First of all, I adore your edits (as always!) I love how the first has such a tropical feel, and the second loooks almost like a drawing. I love that second one the most!

    As far as what you had to say about putting yourself out the creatively, I am so there with you! I love to play, and create art. However, I am also super-sensitive still to those who think that editing is cheating in some way, or just don’t understand using a photo as a canvas for digital art. Plus then when I do get creative, I find myself doing that thing where I second guess myself a million times before I hit publish Of course I used to feel the same way about all photos, and I now can publish (most) photos without worrying what people will think. So hopefully there will come a point where I am that way with all of my creations :)

    Phew… I am extra rambly tonight… ;)

    Hey, there, girlie!! I kept marking this post to come back to, and I’m finally back! :)

    I generally like both your edits! ha! :) The only catch for me is that they both almost seem too _____ like um, embossed/bubbled/ kinda like those story books where the pages have bumpy texture to them… you know?? :) Anyway, I love the beautiful colors on both, and how you really made the boat pop out on the first (that’s my fav of the two, I think. :) )

    For part 2 – HUGS! When you allow yourself to be free and to do what you know you like, you have some awesome work! When you try to confine yourself to a box that someone else picks out for you (or you think they pick out for you) you stiffle and suffocate yourself. You’re never going to make everyone happy, and everyone is going to have different options, good, bad or neutral. It is up to you to rock the gift God has given you. Well, that’s my 2 cents. Take it or spend it on something (not sure what costs 2 pennies though!)