Editing older photos

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  • #49281
    Ernest Lloyd
    Participant

    Hey everyone, I didn’t see many recent photo critiques going on, so as I was going through some older photos, I thought I’d pick out a few and see what you guys think of them! Specifically what I’m looking for is: Which are your favorites? What could I do better if I got into that same situation again? Do you have post-processing tips ie. Crop, adjustment sliders, any other alterations? What potential uses do you think these photos might have?
    The first three photos were from a sunrise photo shoot in Virginia – only ten days after I got my first DSLR! (I don’t how they turned out as good as they did!) 🙂
    I totally forgot about these photos that I took almost a year ago, but surprisingly there were some great shots that I was able to edit a little and get good results out of.

    Attachments:
    #49285
    Ernest Lloyd
    Participant

    Here are a few more from around that same time period.

    Attachments:
    #49534
    Lydia Bennett
    Participant

    Hi there @ernestf-lloyd! Finally got a chance to sit down and look over these beautiful photos today!

    My favorites:

    – Sunrise-over-hill: Just a lovely scene all over! I love the sun beams, the colors in the photo are lovely, the clouds aren’t outstanding, but they are intriguing! It looks like a pretty place to be.

    – Sun-through-woods-r-e: What’s not to like about this type of shot? I love trees. 🙂 You’ll see in my crop, I just eliminated the sunburst because it was so high in the picture, it didn’t seem like it was totally an intentional feature. I also adjusted the crop to bring out symmetry in the photo.

    – Horse-pasture-green-r-e: Such a pretty pasture! Another place that looks like it would be nice to visit. The horse on the right is beautiful, too. I love the yellow wildflowers – they add a nice element of color to the photo!

    What you could have done better:

    In the cow pasture photos, I think it would have been nice to try to include the fence more intentionally. I’m not sure if there could have been an angle you could find to allow the fence to lead the eye into the photo better, rather than out of the photo.

    This is especially so in the first photo. Between the fence and the clouds, the eye is pulled right out of the photo, which is unfortunate because I really (really!) want to like this photo more! As you’ll see in my edit, I tried to crop it differently to try to keep the eye in the photo a bit better (also straightened the horizon). It’s great how the one cow is set apart from the rest of them a bit.

    For my three favorite pictures, I don’t know that there’s a whole lot that I’d change! Perhaps look for some more foreground elements to include. I guess I just might have tried to shoot more similarly to how I cropped so less cropping would be needed. 🙂

    With the railroad, just be a bit more careful with symmetry in the leading lines; it also looks like there’s a bend in the tracks a bit further up, so it may have been neat to see if you could set up a shot with that. Also, be sure that the horizon is level.

    Post-processing tips:

    In my opinion, the photos seemed like the contrast was a bit strong in general; in the attachments, you’ll see I generally pulled out shadows, increased exposure and lowered the contrast. When I adjusted the crops, I was looking for things like symmetry (sun through the woods), placing elements on thirds (sunrise over pasture, horses), balance and leading lines (railroad tracks).

    Other than that, rather than getting super specific on my sample edits, I’ll just say: if you have questions about edits I did on a specific photo, feel free to ask!

    Potential Uses:

    Great question! I’m sure someone else will have some good ideas, but I think some of these (like my three favorites!) look like they would make nice greeting cards, calendar pages or desktop backgrounds.

    If you sell on stock, I’d say you could submit those three. You could potentially add in the railroad tracks too, and maybe the first cow pasture photo.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing those with us! It certainly is fun to look back through old photos and revive some forgotten ones! Nice job.

    Attachments:
    #49641
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    That’s great, to be able to go back and edit some old photos. I have quite a few folders of photos I’ve never processed, so when I’m feeling like taking a beautiful picture and it’s not beautiful outside or I don’t have any traveling on my schedule, then I like to go back and do some editing. 🙂

    I think of the 6 you posted, “Cows-sunrise-pasture-r-e-2.jpg” is my favorite. Here are a few reasons why . . .

    It seems to be the simplest of the cow pasture shots. The first cow pasture shot has the dark top of the post very close, which is usually a great thing to do, but because it’s larger than the other dark subjects of your photo (the cows), then it draws attention away from them. Your second shot doesn’t have this distraction. Secondly, the second shot has a very clear focal point: the sun with the sun rays. While it may not be considered the “subject” of the photo, it’s the object with the greatest visual mass, so my eye goes there first. My eye then travels over the rest of the photo to get the context and read the story of the photo, but then gravitates automatically back to the sun . . . and then around again. It keeps the eye in the photo.

    In the first shot, the dark tree that the clouds are pointing to catches my attention first. Then the big cow on the right. While it’s a nice scene, and fine subjects, they aren’t as interesting I don’t think as the sunburst and the “feeling” of a farm as hierarchically prioritized in the second shot.

    The third shot is of a gorgeous sunset, for sure, but it feels a bit over saturated with unnatural gradations making it look like just “another sunset”. Without any foreground anchors, it’s hard to feel transported into the scene. Visible clues of artificial background darkening also make it hard to enjoy it as a photo of nature.

    Those are my thoughts on the cow pasture photos. 🙂 Of course, removing the leaves on the left in that second photo should be very easy. And it appears there’s something photoshoped there in the sunrays. Not sure, but would keep those rays undisturbed so they look perfectly natural.

    So then you have that gorgeous photo of the horses in the green field! Edited well. Great subjects to work with. Keep working the scene. Get some intentional lines or shapes somehow. Work the scene like a puzzle. Only include the elements that tell the story with clarity. Keep it simple.

    The trees shot is interesting, but not quite dramatic or symmetrical enough from my perspective. Would like to see more texture in the tree trunks, without them being over-saturated.

    And lastly, the railroad is nice. Love being at the low angle like that. I wish I could tell that the tracks were bending more. They point to the very center of the image, balancing out the image so well that it feels static. I’d keep the convergence of the two rails landing on a third, incorporating more information on one side of the track or the other. Maybe the rocks on the left have some more interesting shape/texture than is visible right now? Also, be careful taking pictures of train tracks. It’s private property, so the only legal place to shoot them really is from a crosswalk or road, which I assume that’s what you’re shooting from.

    Hope that helps! Sorry for not replying earlier.

    #49645
    Ernest Lloyd
    Participant

    Hey, James, thanks for critiquing my photos!

    Those are my thoughts on the cow pasture photos. 🙂 Of course, removing the leaves on the left in that second photo should be very easy.

    Sure enough, somehow my eyes missed those leaves on the left!

    And lastly, the railroad is nice. Love being at the low angle like that. I wish I could tell that the tracks were bending more. They point to the very center of the image, balancing out the image so well that it feels static. I’d keep the convergence of the two rails landing on a third, incorporating more information on one side of the track or the other. Maybe the rocks on the left have some more interesting shape/texture than is visible right now?

    Good thoughts. I’ll have to see if I can get another chance to go to that specific place again and retake that photo.

    Also, be careful taking pictures of train tracks. It’s private property, so the only legal place to shoot them really is from a crosswalk or road, which I assume that’s what you’re shooting from.

    Good point! As far as I can remember, this photo was taken at a legal railroad intersection.

    #49646
    Ernest Lloyd
    Participant

    Here it is.

    Attachments:
    #49893
    James Staddon
    Keymaster

    Fantastic!

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