Reviewing and re-interpreting images

Its been a while since I’ve been out taking new photos and with winter now upon us it is dark when I leave for work and dark by the time I leave work. This has given me some time in the evenings to review images that I’ve taken over the last year or so. I have found one or two images that have not been worked on at all for reasons I don’t know why and other images I’ve simply felt that I could improve through either changing the crop or simply making minor adjustments to the levels.

I think its a good thing to go through what we’ve done before and if its been a while since you’ve looked at those images then it can be like approaching them with fresh eyes so to speak. It gives you that chance to re-interpret the image.

I don’t believe in making large changes to images, for example some photographers are quite happy to drop a new sky into an image – this is nothing new of course but its not something I would do. I’m more than happy to make adjustments to levels, contrast, cropping and saturation to change the look of an image but that is generally as far as I would go.

I have found that over time my method of processing images in Lightroom or Photoshop has changed and that the process of reviewing my images gives me a chance to apply those newer methods and re-interpret them. The newer methods may not always have a profound change on the original image but sometimes they do, it depends on what changes have been made.

I would say don’t be afraid to go back through your collection of images, firstly unless you’re ruthless with what you keep and what you delete then you are bound to find a few images that you simply overlooked because you saw something more immediately appealing in another. Secondly, see it as an opportunity to re-interpret some of those images. you may be surprised by the results – a new technique that you have learned since you originally processed the image in Photoshop or simply a different crop may have a pleasant and positive impact on what you already felt was a good image.

Here is an example. The two images below are created from exactly the same raw file.

The image on the left is my original interpretation of the photo. At the time I was pretty happy with it and I was using my latest processing methods at the time in Lightroom.

The image on the right was produced today, applying my current processing method and changing the crop. I’ve lightened the image simply by increasing the exposure to +0.35 and adding some fill light to lift the mid-tones which were perhaps too dark in the original version. I also changed the colour profile from “Camera Faithful” to “Camera Landscape” and set the saturation and vibrance to zero – doing this has made the colour of the sand look more like what I remember. The biggest change however has been to change the crop from a 5 x 4 crop to a square crop, I’ve done this to try and bring more balance in to the composition and eliminate the empty area to the left of the rocks. Personally I feel that this is a better interpretation of the image than the original version, you may disagree of course.

The image below was taken at Findhorn beach in Moray. For whatever reason I appear to have ignored it altogether. When I saw it this evening I felt that it was quite a usable image and deserved to be processed.

Finally, as mentioned in my previous post I have relocated north from Edinburgh to Forres. I’m hopeful of being able to get out and take some dawn photos this weekend. I’ll be taking both my digital camera and medium format film camera along for the shoot, with a bit of luck I’ll have some new images to post later on Saturday. I’ve seen some wonderful sunrises while driving to Inverness over the last week or so, I’m hopeful of a good light show….. if not then expect something a bit more moody.

Until then… take care.

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