Editing is it's own art form ....

Discussion in 'Graphics Programs and Photo Gallery' started by Leftyplayer, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. Leftyplayer

    Leftyplayer TPF Noob!

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    I've been out and about taking fun candid portraits/ street photography. As I'm just learning, have had mostly misses with a few relatively good hits. I've also been spending time looking at great photographer's photos. The thing that strikes me the most is how they're all processed in software afterward and, sometimes, what starts out as a nice picture with potential turns into an amazing picture with some editing on the computer.

    However, I feel overwhelmed by this. I know a bit of photoshop and do have a hubby that knows the software and can help me out. But I don't want to get sucked into the learning curve of these software programs (am currently playing with Gimp and Photoscape to see if they are simpler for someone who doesn't want to get sucked into spending more time editing than shooting). Mostly, though, I don't know what editing choices to make!! When I see an awesome photo, I know it. But when I'm looking at MY photos, I don't really know what kinds of editing choices would bring them to the next level ... that's it's own art form.

    Anyway, not sure what I'm asking. I'm mostly moaning and groaning LOL. But I'm also trying to sort out the software with the simplest learning curve that can help me start making easy baby steps toward photo editing. I know how to crop, resize, sharpen, change contrast, and make simple color / saturation changes (even know a tiny bit about layers) - so I don't mean so much technical changes in a photograph ... I mean more artistic kinds of choices and changes. What's the learning process here? I'm used to just "fixing" photos that aren't working (too dark, too bright, need cropping, etc) ... I'm not used to "enhancing" a perfectly technically fine picture.

    Hope I've made sense and, mostly, hope someone even knows what I'm trying to say :confused:.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2010
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    understood what your talking about and it is imho that what your wanting to do,takes a lot of time and practice.

    It may be similar to an artist that knows, watercolor for this feeling, oil for that; experience is going to be helpful for you.

    Not very helpful as I don't think there is an quick answer and not to be ugly, this is a problem these days, people thinking it is just a matter of clicking a button here or there; it is hard work , practice and experience and perhaps if one is 10 no fear, they will try anything :lol: and love the results.
     
  3. JG_Coleman

    JG_Coleman No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I, personally, would say that you're approaching the situation from the wrong persepctive. Taking a photograph and editing that photograph, whether for technical or artistic purposes, are best thought of as a seamless process... not two entirely different disciplines.

    Presumably, those types of photographs you appreciate were made by individuals that envisioned creating a shot that looked just like that. For them, the process of creating that photograph involved a vision of what they wanted the final product to be. Taking the photo, in that case, is only the first half of the process, and processing it to look the way they envisioned it is the second half of the process.

    Think of the two parts of the process as the head and tail of a snake... you can refer to each individually, but they are connected in the middle. They are really part of the same, single process... creating a digital photograph that you envision.

    So, try not to work the process backwards. Don't think... here I have this photograph, how can I edit it to be really artistic. The reason you have a hard time with that is that you lack direction... you're trying to make a photograph something it's not by "adding on to it" after the fact. Start first by envisioning exactly how you want the final photograph to look, then strive to take a photrograph that will help you get to that destination.

    You may simply find that the particular type of artistic work you've been looking at just isn't really your style. Alternatively, you may find that when you start by envisioning your final product first, the path to the best photograph and best processing practices becomes much easier to discern... it will pretty much reveal itself.
     
  4. Leftyplayer

    Leftyplayer TPF Noob!

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    Coleman, awesome advice! Thank you. You are right ... as a beginner, in my mind, the editing process appears to be a totally different thing. More importantly, I have not yet developed a style nor clear vision, which does explain why I'm a bit stumped. For now, I'll continue to work on composition and correct exposure and not get ahead of myself. The rest will come with time or at that time when I've got the basics of taking a good photograph down.

    So much wisdom around here ...
     
  5. DanEitreim

    DanEitreim TPF Noob!

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  6. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    dont be lazy, if you want highquality pictures that require more post-processing than the average, you will need to learn how to use software and it might take time.
     
  7. Peano

    Peano TPF Noob!

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    One way to learn is to post one or two of your images and see what others would do with them.
     
  8. Leftyplayer

    Leftyplayer TPF Noob!

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    Peano, I may just do that, as my curiosity is strong. I have a simple picture, in particular, of fire against a backdrop of sky that I like but feel that it needs some umph! I'll play with it first, then post and bask in feedback.
     
  9. Peano

    Peano TPF Noob!

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    Good. Post your version along with the original while you're at it. :sexywink:
     
  10. pbelarge

    pbelarge TPF Noob!

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    You came to the right place for moaning and groaning...:mrgreen:


    Think back to times when you were first learning how...such as learning to drive. At first you may have been scared and thought it would never happen. Now (if you are driving), it is not something you even think about.

    Take this frame of mind into editing and realize that in a couple of years you will be helping others.

    P.S.
    Think back on the last 2 years of your life - went by quickly, didn't it?;)
     
  11. Matt.R

    Matt.R TPF Noob!

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    A good way to figure out post processing techniques is a multistep process:

    1) Determine the mood that you're trying to establish in a particular photo. Are you going for dreamy? Mysterious? Scary? Nostalgic?

    2) Do tons of visual research of photographers whose work you admire. Browse the web (flickr especialy) and try to find examples of the types of post processing that matches the mood you decided to aim for in step 1.

    3) Experiment, experiment, and experiment some more while you try to get your photo to match the style you found in #2. Ideally do this to a RAW copy of your photo so it's non-destructive.

    Also realize that good post processing can make a good photo great, but it rarely makes a mediocre photo good.
     

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