Practice Makes Progress

14 Apr

Vortex (reprocessed) :: CT

Last weekend I spent some time reprocessing some older photos for a write-up on the Outbound.  As I looked through my older shots, I kept asking myself, “What the heck were you thinking??”

The shots themselves were solid compositions (in my opinion) but the edits were….well…not.  They were okay, but they didn’t reflect where I am as an artist today.

Art is funny that way, ya know?  Trends change.  The look that was popular a few years ago is most definitely not what we see now.  A few years ago, many of the landscapes you saw were run through HDR software, so they had very even tones across the board.  The highlights and deep shadows were pulled back, and the lack of dynamic light was over-shadowed by the fantastic colors.


The Vortex :: CT

Older version of the same image is significantly different based on both growing my editing skills and current trends.

Now, you’re seeing a trend for extremely dramatic light…lot of deep shadows during the magic hours.  Think Ryan Dyar or Marc Adamus.

Now, these shots are stunning.  But having watched the HDR revolution come and go, I can definitely see it’s a trend.  I have no idea how long it will last, before the next editing style gets its 15 minutes of fame.

Which brings up a good point, I think….  Your edits really can make or break an image.  It’s important to learn to use your camera in the field, but in today’s world, your edits can hold almost as much weight.  If you put together a well composed photo in good light, but the edit doesn’t highlight the strong points of the image, it will get overlooked in favor of an image with the more popular editing trends.

Now, if you make art for you…then you do what looks best to your eye!  But if you make art for a living…then you need to catch the buyers eye or you can’t put food on the table.

For me personally, I strive for a photo with dynamic, molded light.  I don’t often go so far as to create surreal images, but rather, I’ll try to enhance the light as it falls normally. Molded light is…well…my newest trend. 😉

The shot above was taken at Enders Falls in CT.

For more information about the edit and/or classes, contact me at seespotsphoto at yahoo dot com.

Also, if you’re an iPhone/iPad user, check out my newest article on seeing in Black and White in issue 9 of Light and Landscape magazine.

8 Responses to “Practice Makes Progress”

  1. graydaysandcoffee April 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    love your title. great post

  2. Marcus April 15, 2015 at 1:48 am #

    I used to despair that my photos were not shiny and attractive to most people on the Internet. Low ‘Like’ counts, almost zero comments, and no large number of disciples, er, followers. But I’ve recently come to realise that, as you say, if I am making photographs for myself then I should continue to develop photographs in a manner that pleases me. Through WordPress I’ve found a number of photographers who make great images but have no comments or likes. So, it would seem, the popularity of a photographer on the Internet probably has less to do with the photos than it does with the photographer’s ability to appeal to what’s popular and market him/herself. Or maybe my photos are just really boring. 🙂 In any case, I will continue to do the best edits I can with the best photos I can make.
    I really like the first photo in this post, by the way. And a very good and very true post title.

    • seeingspotsphoto April 16, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

      Thanks for your thoughtful response. I believe that in order to gauge your “success” as a photographer, you have to first evaluate what your goals and milestones are. To a certain degree, popularity is a matter of good marketing. But ultimately, its your photos that are weighed for quality.

      The problem is, because it’s art, a photo’s worth is subjective.

      Ultimately, I think if you make photos because you enjoy it then don’t worry about the like and follows. If you are looking to make money in the field, that changes things…at that point, you need to engage your clients and get your name out there…

      Either way, success is a matter of perspective. If you’re happy where you are, then don’t worry about the likes. If you want to grow, then just like anything else, it can be worked on. 🙂

      So glad you stopped by the blog. Thanks for the kind words about the photo!

  3. Justin Avery April 21, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    I can’t tell you how true this post is Shannon! When I first got into photography and learned how to properly compose a photo, I thought it would all be downhill from there and easy going. I couldn’t have been further from the truth. I immediately realized that taking the photo was only half the challenge. Editing it properly was completely different. If I have learned anything from photographic art, it’s that processing is almost more important than composing and snapping the shot. Trying to create the vision you have in your mind from the photo you having sitting in front if you can be nearly impossible if you don’t know how to use the tools. I too look back at my older photos and now know a little more about how to get them to look the way I had envisioned them to look when I first took the shot. Now the next hurdle, finding time to do so. 🙂

    What I find most intriguing about photographic art is the ability to take a subject and make it stand out in a way that keeps you drawn to the photo. Having an interesting subject with supplementing surroundings really helps do that. And knowing how to work with the light to bring the whole vision together.

    • seeingspotsphoto April 22, 2015 at 2:09 am #

      It’s sort of interesting, in some ways, how many ways there are to make art. Some people (purists) believe we should abstain from edits. Others…the total creative art brains…are usually only satisfied with major edits. And you know…the whole spectrum in between. lol

      I tend to agree with you though. The edit can be just as important as the base image, and the more you know about editing, the more tools you have in your toolbox to accomplish your artistic goals. 🙂

  4. flahertylandscape April 22, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    And then I turned my head…and my breath was taken away! I am imagining the beauty of the spot where you shot. Thank you for all.

    • seeingspotsphoto April 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

      It really was a lovely location. 🙂 I can’t wait to go back!

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