Monday, March 21, 2011
It's not that I didn't know how, I just didn't have the software to do it, and it never crossed my mind that I might want to get some. Occassionaly I'd crop in mspaint or something similar, but for the most part, what you saw was what you got.
Eventually I wanted to edit my pictures a little more than not at all, so I used Windows Photo Gallery, where cropping, color changes and contrast adjustment were available.
It took way too long for me to graduate into Photoshop. I had learned how to use it long ago, when I worked for a mean lady. It took me a few weeks, but I remembered some old techniques, and I was extremely happy.
Even with Photoshop, I kept edits at a minimum. Levels and curves helped a lot. I generally adjusted those, maybe took out some junky stuff from the background, and hit save.
I had a brief stint with Adobe Lightroom, and I loved it. After my free trial, I went back to using Photoshop for a few months, but the differences between the two software packages was major, so I caved and bought LR. I use it for almost everything these days. Once in a great while I'll open Photoshop back up and make a few changes to an image, but LR is where it's at.
It's so easy to fix things. The "blacks" level is my favorite. I'm also enjoying the B&W conversion, because you can convert your image to black and white, and then play with the colors, and it's so awesome. It is so fun to make ordinary "grey" looking skys POP.
I'm experimenting more with processing, stretching my wings, so to speak. I like turning the clarity down and casting a soft glow on things.
The weird thing is that I can't tell if the processing is good or not. I mean, I like it, and "that's all that matters"... but of course I want everyone ON THE PLANET to like my stuff, and I don't know if I'm making it more or less likeable with the processing.
The other thing I've been doing is watching the light. Before, it was exicting to get cool pictures of a landscape, foggy day, trees, etc... now it's exciting to go out at sundown and find the perfect place to shoot.
Just the other day I was in a photography forum, and the topic was "what would you like to learn?". One lady said, "I know pretty much everything, I'm great with my camera, so I'm good where I'm at".
Yes, yes, she was good. She had nice soft pictures of her kids. They had a warm feel to them, and I enjoyed looking through her stuff.
But I can't comprehend how anyone could feel like they've reached the very pinacle of their body of knowledge. There is never a moment when I'm not learning about something new, trying new things, stumbling across new techniques, finding new settings... you get the point.
I look back at my stuff from 5 years ago and cringe. How did I not know what ISO was? Why was I using my on camera flash? Why didn't I fix the levels?
My stuff from 2 years ago is better, but not great. I remember thinking "wow, these are great shots!", and feeling pretty proud of myself. If I shot some of those same things now, they'd be totally different. Totally better.
I can only hope that this goes on forever. I hope shots that I do now are mediocre in comparison with the photographs of my future.