There is a trap, a mediocrity trap that I am learning to recognise. When editing an image there is a lot of effort in the first instance that is all about fixing problems. I will look at an image in Lightroom, Luminar, Nik Collection or whatever editing software, (all images in this blog were edited with Macphun Luminar) and set about (almost without thought now) fixing the problems I see. I may raise the shadows, drop the highlights, alter the contrast and exposure, fiddle with the black point and white point, saturation, clarity etc. Whatever the items I fix will result in a more pleasing image, maybe even a good image but in the absence of a pre-visualised outcome, I will fail to produce something I consider special.
All the initial editing effort has little to do with any objective of an intended outcome, instead, they are just problem fixes as if playing with sliders like a child with an abacus. A special image will, of course, have items I’ve fixed but the objectives behind all the edits of something special are the endeavour of attaining the image in my mind, before I pressed the shutter. I think this is a key difference in photography as appose to painting. A painter starts with a blank canvass and attempts to make every brush stroke a progression to the result they desire. A photographer starts with a lot of compromises, technical and scientific which need to be overcome and which can cloud art, (example low light and a moving subject requiring a fast shutter speed makes for a circle that cannot easily be squared) and then in post sets about correcting the compromises and this is where its all to easy to not feel the creativity, instead focusing on the elements accessed as wrong.
I am trying to take more photos that are considered, planned and thought through in order to have a benchmark. This way each stage follows the last as an endeavour to creating a pre-conceived result. The vast majority of images may not be plannable, we do not always know what we are going to be faced with, what will unfold in front of our eyes, but I’m in a better place to adapt and be creative if when I pick the camera up, I have at least the resemblance of a plan, a goal and a visualisation of an image I’d like to make.
The images that might not be worth the editing time, I am finding I just apply presets in Luminar 2018, it’s quick, and the brilliant thing is you can take the effect from 100% to zero. This enables me to quickly find the images that may be special and worthy editing with real editing time.