One of the best things about learning new post processing techniques is that you can go back to some of your earlier photos (you know the ones you may have overcooked because you were a complete nooo-b and didn’t really know what you were doing) and make them look like you wanted them to look in the first place.
Now, there’s one thing that I did learn very early on in the digital darkroom and that was never, ever make edits to your original image, always make a copy. If you screw up the copy just delete it, make another copy of the original and start again. Always preserve your original. You never know, 5 years later you might want to go back and take another crack at that photo. It’s the same reason I shoot RAW almost exclusively now. And, thanks to much better non-destructive editing programs like Lightroom, I can make as many versions as I like while still preserving the original RAW file.
Here are a few of my earliest photos from 2005, when I was still a nooo-b and didn’t know very much. At that time I was using Photoshop Elements 3 and knew only 2 moves (Levels Adjustments and Saturation). I know a few more tricks now so I thought I would try them out on a few older photos.
This first one is of the Botanical Garden in Sydney, Australia, with Sydney’s familiar skyline in the background. I wanted to bring a little more colour to the sky, similar to using a polarizing filter (which I didn’t have back then).
This next one was just overly flat and no amount of Levels or Saturation at the time was going to fix it. Again, wanting to enhance the sky a little bit and pull a little more detail out of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
For the last one I wanted to re-create the drama of the sky as I had remembered it. Digital cameras don’t see things the same way the human eye does so they often need a little encouragement. I wanted this to be dramatic and edgy to show off what was going on in the sky. I have probably pushed this one a little closer to the edge than my normal style, but I like the result anyway.