With the world being flooded with digital images, the edit you put on a photo is just as important as the thought, resources and skill it took to capture the files in the first place. Your choices, your editing style and methods can totally change the feel of a finished product.
How so, you ask? (Or if you didn’t, you should have!)
Well, the obvious answer is that art is subjective, our eyes perceive the world differently and when we begin the creative process – the moment when we put our eye to the camera – our idea of how the image should be shaped belongs to us, as the artist alone.
Our choice in edits helps to bring those ideas to fruition.
For example, this is an example of light painting. The colors and highlights within this image were enhanced with a layer dedicated solely to painting in color and light where it needed a boost. To me, the details still lack a bit of contrast, but I like the moody feel of the light and the boost given to the lackluster sunrise.
Now, this photo is an HDR – more detail, but lacks the depth that comes along with dynamic light. This particular image, to me, has the feel of a painting. It is a great re-creation of nature, but it doesn’t feel real.
For this particular image, I chose to mix the two techniques, masking in which parts of each version I enjoyed. The final version is the photo at the top of the post.
Now, is any one way better than the others? No. Not really. It’s art. If you love the painterly feel, you’ll probably hang the HDR version. If you love light bleed, you’ll shoot for the light painting effect.
That’s the thing about art. It’s 100% in the eye of the beholder. First and foremost, I work to learn and create images I enjoy. Once you develop a style, then you will define your market.