(Click on this link to see an interactive Before/After of this image, as well as view the entire workflow video of how I processed it – http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode17/)
There is no such thing as a finished image as far as I’m concerned. Whenever I find myself feeling disenchanted with my recent batches of images, I turn to my older stuff. I think it’s critical to audit yourself and your growth as a photographer by reviewing your past work. A few days ago, I found myself staring complacently at a folder of waterfall shots. They were beautiful and I was happy with the results but I felt drained. I’ve been exposed to more landscape and nature scenery in the past 9 months (since moving to Portland, OR) than I have in my entire life. I found myself missing the urban sprawls that I used to shoot all the time.
So, I turned to my older Lightroom catalogs. I started in 2008 and moved onto 2009 and 2010. In each one, I saw earlier versions of myself – Brian, the Photographer. I saw classic mistakes made, both in composition and stylization. I couldn’t believe I thought the results I was looking at were, at one point in my life, deemed as passable. But that right there is what it’s all about! It isn’t that what I did back then was wrong – it’s that my sensibilities and taste changed – or rather, they evolved. And through that revelation, I saw the very growth in my photography that I was looking for.
And so I continued browsing through the old catalogs, blowing off dust and seeing what my new bag of tricks would do to give these images a new lease on life. After a few hours, I ended up with a whole new batch of old images that I couldn’t wait to share and I felt that the lesson I learned from this practice needed to be shared and would make a great episode for this series.
The lesson here is to never forget where you came from. It’s cathartic and very beneficial to be able to look back on the road you’ve already traversed in this journey. As you grow as a photographer, and as a person, it’s important to see where you came from in order to see where you’re going.
In terms of processing
Click on the link below to see a video of how I created this shot from start to finish. It is part of my ongoing called Perfect Inspiration. I hope you enjoy it!