Friday, December 2, 2011

Good Farming AND good Cooking...

One of my most favorite websites ( includes a “daily critique” feature that uses a recently taken photography, and utilizing the “language of  design”, discusses the strengths and merits of an image.  Occasionally, they demonstrate ways to reinterpret or “improve” that image with possible editing enhancements and techniques.  I’ve learned a tremendous amount though these lessons and examples.

This same website started a new feature earlier this year called EditMyImage.  It’s basically a user-driven discussion group where someone posts an image of their own, and then the other uses download it, and edit it anyway they want, and re-post the result.  The original person then chooses the edit they like best and declares a “winner”.  This winner then restarts the process by posting a new image of their own.

The two images here show the current photo being worked on.  The first, full-color image (above )was the contributor’s original, and the second, altered image (left) is the edited version I created and have submitted for consideration.  In addition to converting to a sepia-toned background, I used a fair amount of "digital gardening" and clone-stamping to simplify the image and reduce what I thought was distracting clutter.

I think the EditMyImage forum is an excellent way to not only hone your own post-processing skills, but it let’s you see how others respond to the identical image.  You realize quickly how many different ways there are to reinterpret and add uniqueness to an image.   If you have several photography friends, or are a member of a photography club, suggest using this activity as a learning tool--it will give you a lot of enjoyment and learning, and it will make you a better photographer.  After all, photography isn’t just pressing the shutter and creating captures.  That part of the process is obviously important, and arguably the MOST important part, but photography also includes whatever post processing (we used to call developing) techniques you choose to apply to your captures.   

I think of the capture component as “farming”, and the post-production component as “cooking”.  You need both good farming AND good cooking to create a great meal.  A good capture AND good post-processing will give you something you'll be proud of, and proud of sharing. 

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