A Photo a Week Challenge: Artsy

I was delighted to see this challenge … until I realized that I often — okay, usually — don’t remember how I made a picture look “that way.” I wing it because, in Photoshop, I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time.

BW plastic oil bottle

I’ve never studied Photoshop. Never taken a course, or been tutored. I’ve doped out how to do the things with occasional kindly tips from other photographers. I know how to do the things I need to do often. And I’ve worked my way through a lot of years and many iterations of Adobe’s software.

solarized art effect horizontal kitchen

I can crop, sharpen, re-balance color. Now, thanks to Bob Mielke, I can adjust specific areas of a picture, zeroing in on a particular section I want to fix.


It is a bit haphazard, I admit. The negative side is reproducing results sometimes impossible. The good news is I discover all kinds of nifty stuff. It’s a new set of toys every day!


I’ve been messing around with art effects for a long time, even before I had Photoshop. Back when I used Corel (because Photoshop was out of my price range), it had good effects. I did a lot of experimenting. I called the results “artographs” because they have photographic roots, but are no longer true photographs.


Personal taste is the overriding consideration in this sort of thing. I like painterly effects, poster effects, solarization. I like outlining, turning things into “drawings,” and toy camera effects. For me, art effects are playtime. I hope you like some of them too.


These days, pretty much every camera you can buy has art effects built in. Surprisingly, some of them are remarkably good. Better than you will get using Photoshop. If you haven’t tried them, give it a shot or three. I had never used them until I recently tried them by accident. I liked the results very much.  The first two pictures in this post were done using the Art Effects Bracket on an Olympus PEN PL-5.

Categories: #Photography, Photo A Week Challenge

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27 replies

  1. Love the effects you used- especially the kitchen photo- it says wow!


  2. I’ve only had one, very basic photoshop class many years ago, more than 10, so many of the tricks I learned (and have forgotten) are probably done a different way now. 🙂 So I’m working my way through each photo and trying to remember how I get the effects I want. Thanks for joining the challenge!


  3. I tried to recreate an effect I used on a picture of the Sears Tower when I lost track of the original version. You probably know this problem. I did not know which folder, flash drive or SD card contained the copy I wanted. I could not recreate the size or effect and gave up that project.


    • I really hate when that happens. And it has happened more than once that I can never repeat the effect. It happened just the other day and I was sure I knew what I had done. Apparently I didn’t.


  4. I fool around with effects a lot. But I rarely use them straight up. I combine several of them. But if you don’t see the original it’s often hard to tell that I’ve done anything at all – though I figure I’ve improved things. In some images I remove – or add – elements – Like wires – or even people. This way I’ve been able to recover some images that were otherwise unusable.


    • I do that too. Sometimes it’s a way to salvage an otherwise hopeless picture. Sometimes, I have a lot of pictures that all like pretty much the same, so I take a couple of them and see what else I can do with them. It really is the entertainment side of photo processing 🙂


  5. Absolutely stunning pictures! I love those effects. Someday I’m going to buckle down and learn more about how to do them!


  6. I know what you mean. I have to write everything down that I do – but that is boring and slows the creative flow down. It is better just to have fun with your processing and go with the flow.


  7. Great photo editing! 🙂


  8. My phone’s camera has some fun photo effects that I like playing around with. I end up deleting a lot, but it’s fun to play.


  9. PhotoShop has to be the least intuitive program ever. And it is huge and each edition gets bigger. If it makes you feel any better, I’ve known several professional graphic artists over they years, folks who make a living with PShop as their primary program, and each and every one of them will admit to only knowing a small amount of the program.

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  10. Visual effects are too good and fun to look at. I liked the second one, the tiny bulbs are looking so bright as well as the architectural highlights in the second last. I loved all. I know the A B C of photoshop and sometimes I spoiled my photos overdoing it lol….. I love to play with art effects.


    • The first and second photos use effects produced through the camera’s native “Art Effects” programming of the Olympus PEN PL-5. Everything else is Photoshop. I have some NIK filters that works in Photoshop. It offers whole sets of effects — analog, toy, antique and many more. I use them for a few things. Sometimes I want to age a picture. Other times, a picture is imperfect and effects cover a multitude of problems !

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  11. Reblogged this on Beechdey’s Weblog.


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