Finding the Grace of Van Gogh-Defining a New Photography Editing Style

The wind has been blowing incessantly all day and with it, I can feel a change. September is a transitional month where the embers of summer are in their final days and you know that frost will soon arrive. My muse has been calling to me as the leaves dance and show their underbellies to the blue sky. She is telling me to evolve and try something new and I have. Today I want to introduce you to a new style of photo editing I have been creating that I am naming Van Gogh.

Western North Carolina Photographer Sabrina L Greene

For the Love of Bella Grace

It is no secret that my favorite time of year is the autumn season. I love the scents, textures, and overall feeling of coziness. It simply makes me feel special and nostalgic.

Although Fall is a very busy time for myself and other photographers I make time to enjoy the season in various ways. One of the traditions I have is to pick up a copy of a beloved magazine I consider a treasure called Bella Grace.   

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I was introduced to Stampinton & Co.’s. magazine Bella Grace by a fellow manager, Darlene, when I ran a professional art framing shop for a big box store. I had told her my previous love of art journaling and she told me I would love this magazine she adored. Darlene was right and since our magazine rep would only bring a few at a time there were times we would practically fight over them. LOL, those were the days we would “oooohhhh” and “ahhhhh” over the prompts and photos together. We are both hopeless romantics which explains it all.

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When I worked as a professional art framer I had easy access to Bella Grace but over the past couple of years, I let my tradition lapse. Building a business, three traumatic events last year, coupled with everything else that tends to steal my time away left me lacking in self-care.

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That is until COVID-19 forced me to stay home and do nothing business-like for the greater part of this year. Even the changes I have been facing as a mother and woman entrepreneur with this mess have had me distracted. However, I feel as though my family and I have found our routine finally.

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This led me to more time to daydream again and my mind started to drift back to my favorite magazine and a trip to the attic to find my previous copies stashed away during our move last June.

Learning to “Do Me”

The texture of the paper, the thought-provoking prompts, and the stunning photography of Bella Grace is a siren to my soul. I had intentions to blog more in the style of Bella a few years back but I didn’t allow myself.

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“Sabrina! You are your own worst enemy!” JJ, sternly told me the other night under the yellow glow of the kitchen light.

“I know,” I said as I sighed, “I put too much pressure on myself and never allow myself to just be me.”

“Exactly, everyone around you knows how talented you are except you. Take time to do some things for fun so you enjoy your own work. It doesn’t always have to be about business, now does it?” He shook his head and hugged me then went outside to make a phone call while I stood there and took another deep breath.

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My friend Heather warns me to, “SLOW DOWN” all the time because I have a crash and burn mentality.

That is where Bella Grace comes in because their motto is to embrace life’s beautiful journey and find the magic in the everyday.

I shoot so many weddings that I have forgotten to shoot for myself. And if I do shoot for myself I never show the images.

Why? Ugh…who knows I can be weird. I am such a workaholic, totally get that from my Dad by the way, that I neglect myself and feel guilty doing anything I enjoy.

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Well, guess what?

I’m bored with my current editing style so I am permitting myself to change it up!


That question has kept me up at night and kept me from exploring new ways to create. A.K.A a creative rut! There is nothing wrong with evolving and that is what I am doing.

Channeling Van Gogh

So how does Vincent Van Gogh play into all this? The name of this blog post has his name in it, right?

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When I started genuinely playing with a new editing style a couple of weeks ago I discovered that I was subconsciously channeling my artistic inspirations. One of those was as you may have guessed Stampington & Co.’s Bella Grace but the other was a painting I had seen a long time ago that Van Gogh had painted.

When you think of Van Gogh what comes to your mind? Perhaps his Starry Night, his self-portrait, or his blossom paintings? All of those are very popular but I also enjoy looking at some of his other work. One, in particular, stood out more than the others to me and that is the one below titled, Autumn Landscape at Dusk.

There is a romanticism to this oil painting that draws me to it like a moth to a flame. I have yet to decide if the figure is a man or woman walking in the dusk of the evening but it is easy for me to imagine that it is myself.

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The sun is setting and almost gone in yellow and orange hues along with the greens surrounding the landscape. This painting takes me back to my childhood exploring the forests and hills near my grandmother’s house in Hot Springs, NC. In September and October, it was hard to find me until the sunset because I would climb the mountain behind her home by myself. I would sit in the middle of the yellowing weeds while the wind blew through my hair. When the sun would begin to set in the direction of Tennessee I would begin my journey home. Much like the subject in this painting.

When you place Van Gogh’s autumn painting against some of my experimental editings what do you see? Kind of hits you smack in the face doesn’t it?

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Without realizing it I was channeling the color palette of Van Gogh with his muted greens, orange, and yellow hues! Also from my love of the images in Bella Grace I started pulling in more of a film look to give the overall look of these images a more romantic feel.

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After it all came together I had such a creative breakthrough I just wanted to jump up and down with delight. As fall descends upon us this new type of editing style will work beautifully with the moodier tones of autumn’s weather.

Now that I have opened the door of my mind to what genuinely inspires me I have been able to analyze why I had been editing in the way that I have for so long. My previous editing style, that will still be available to clients, was from my love of Renoir paintings! He loved to use brash lighting techniques and vibrant colors and I took that inspiration and used it subconsciously as well. I guess it does not come as a surprise that my previous editing and lighting style is now going to be called Renoir.

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Nevertheless, my creative journey is continually taking me in new directions and the excitement that I feel when I have a breakthrough is intense! I am delighted to be in a place where I am understanding where my inspirations come from because now I can dig deeper into them instead of bouncing around from one idea to the next.

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In conclusion, I am happy to announce my custom-made Van Gogh inspired editing for your enjoyment as much as mine. I am also ecstatic to be bringing you more of the “everyday magic” that makes me pause and slow down too. Thank you for always being out there friends and I love hearing what you have to say in the comments on my social media channels! Come back and visit again because there is no way of knowing what is going to inspire me next! 


Elopement Feature Vendors: Engaged & Eloping, McKenzie Botanicals, The Grafted Olive

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About Sabrina

Sabrina is a photographer located near Asheville, NC who loves to create stories through her lens. She is known for her conceptual photography inspired by literature and her love of books.

Sabrina is also a portrait, wedding, and small business photographer. Her artistic style bridges the line of cinema and paintings.

And when she’s not photographing people, you can find her indulging in journaling, reading traditional fairy and folktales, researching her beloved Southern Appalachia, daydreaming, or spending time with her family and her pampered dog, Pixel.

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