There haven’t been many blog posts in the last few months. It’s been a busy time – a lot of resources, both time and money spent learning and furthering my photo education; put in short: going full tilt – trying to maintain training classes and private clients while doing a deep immersion into updating my photo editing skills.

When in University (which is a while back now:-) I studied Fine Art, majoring in Visual Communication, and Photography was a large component of that. But technology has advanced a wicked amount since my days in Art School and University. We used film (remember those days?) and we worked in the darkroom. Developing film and prints meticulously by hand. Figuring out print exposures by systematic trials, dodging and burning by hand, breathing toxic fumes…learning patience as we were forced to wait until the very end of the wet stage before you could turn on lights or even open the door to go outside into daylight with the dripping wet print to evaluate results. If it wasn’t what you had hoped for – back in you went to give it another try. Several minutes later, you would emerge with another wet print for evaluation on a tray. Not a process for the impatient.

My patient nature combined with an immediate desire to “create beautiful prints” was actually well suited for working in the darkroom. I really enjoyed spending time figuring out what would make the print better, and then trying to do just that. There was a great sense of accomplishment and mastery that evolved from many years of developing patience, skill and practice. But I don;t miss mixing chemicals, spending hours and hours in the dark, nor do I miss breathing the fumes.

Things have changed so much since those days and while I did also take Photoshop courses in the early days: that is a long time ago, too! So the entire year 2013 was really marked strongly by a theme of LEARNING. Learning the new ways of Photoshop and digital tools and practices that have changed a lot since those early days. Trying to make sense of how obsolete darkroom skills can translate into digital photo editing skills?! It’s only now, a year later, when I truly sit back and reflect, and look at images that I really see just how much I have actually learned in the last year. So I thought I should share just a couple of examples of things I would not even have attempted two years ago. But now: I can!

Just like with the darkroom, I still LOVE the creative process that continues after a photo shoot. The possibilities are endless. Of course way more so than was ever possible in the darkroom.

I still don;t master it all: FAR from that. But I do feel great about having mastered many new tricks and being able to respond favorably to many questions about “Can we change/ remove/ alter this or that?” – and with much more confidence.

Below are two examples. In the top photo I was asked about the blanket. We used the blanket during the shoot because I was concerned that the ground was damp and would leave wet blotches on bottoms for the rest of the day. The photo is edited with a trendy and contemporary color scheme – which the client liked – but we agreed the blanket is a bit distracting and the client asked if we could remove it. I did try. But limitations to my learning: I was not able to fully remove it. It just didn’t look realistic. However – I was able to shrink it considerably and the resulting smaller blanket seems to have done the trick! Both agreed it made a world of a difference.

Photo editing by Wags unlimited

























Then. We had a different kind of dilemma. A lovely family photo that needed to fit into an 8×10″ mat and frame. If you crop the original file, you lose a lot of the beauty of the surroundings.

My intense year of education paid off in this scenario: MOVE MOUNTAINS?! No Problem 🙂

So when I look back over images like these and think back to where my skills were 18 months ago, 12 months ago – even 6 or 3 months ago…. It’s pretty cool to realize there has been a LOT of learning! I would not have had the skills to attempt these edits a year ago. Certainly would not have moved mountains 🙂

Learning is a thrill; and it’s not over yet by any means…the journey is and will be on-going.

So here’s to Finding the Passion and Learning! May the journey continue to be a Thrill!

Wags unlimited photo editing


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