Photography……There’s just so much to learn……

I never knew there is just so much to learn in photography when I first started. And it took me one year and more to realise that I’m just touching the tip of an iceberg.

I started off by learning about shooting in full manual mode, aperture priority, shutter priority, followed by how the size of the aperture affects the background of the picture (and of course I learnt about bokeh) and then moved on to learn about long exposure and taking pictures in the dark.

I was full of hopes that I will be able to take great pictures with my Nikon D5300.

Soon I realised that pictures taken straight out of the camera were not as fantastic as I thought they would be. Most of the time (in fact almost 100%), I have to edit the pictures before I can even post them in social media for others to view. Even then, my photographs weren’t attractive to get attention.

Besides lacking the creativity in composition and good lighting (Light exposure and composition became something that I have to consciously remind myself of, which is also to me the most difficult task to master), my photographs lack the “punch” and attention getters.

Taken on 10 May 2014 in jpeg format
Taken on 10 May 2014 in jpeg format
Taken on 26 Jun 2014 in jpeg format
Taken on 26 Jun 2014 in jpeg format

I decided to invest my time in learning photograph editing and then a software that would allow me to do my job easier.

And for the past weeks, I’ve indulged myself in photo editing with most of the pictures edited in Lightroom and a couple of them in Photoshop.

It has never occurred to me that I would spend so much time on my desk, clicking and “painting” on “dead” pictures and trying to bring them back alive.

My love for photography has grown stronger along the way, as I begin to feel the triumph when viewers start clicking “LIKE” on the pictures I have taken, edited and posted.

Never did I realize that editing photographs is a knowledge in itself, till I spent hours (literally hours though it’s not all at one go) on YouTube leaning how to make my photographs stand out.

I have not mastered the art of photography, neither have I become more creative, but I have gathered ideas and knowledge through the various YouTube tutorials and learned a handful of things.

I’ve learned dodging and burning to add more punch to a picture. I have learned temperature and tint control, and how split toning and adding hues and saturation to my pictures can give the pictures different kinds of mood whichever I like.

Yes, give the credits to Lightroom, for it is a far better tool to edit pictures than iPhoto (or so I thought), and it has opened up a new world of joy for me.

I have somewhat fallen in love in black and white photography and leaned that different shades of grey can add impact to a photograph.

20160123-_DSC0079-Edit

With feedback from 2 of my fellow colleagues, KK and DK, I have once again realized that I’m not an artistic person, for the pictures I’ve edited tend to fall on the dull scale.

Nevertheless I’ve taken their feedback as a learning journey, a journey which I enjoy so much, at least at this point in time.

KK commented that my black and white pictures are too dark, losing all the details and I’ve then learnt about being conscious of not neglecting the shadows.

DK’s remark has however brought me to see things from another perspective, that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, what KK finds too dark may be pleasing to Dennis.

20160123-_DSC0065-Edit

I began to review photographs I’ve taken and edited in the past, and decided to give them a new look.

Anyway, it was amazing to see how a photograph can be edited to become so differently by me, and all these just by the use of photograph editing software — Lightroom.

I can recall when I first started on night photography with long exposure, I was excited with the pictures I’ve taken, with the below picture as one of my most loved and proud of.

Initial edit - taken on 31 Jan 2015
Initial edit – taken on 31 Jan 2015

I didn’t have Lghtroom then, and was only using iPhoto on my Mac to edit the picture. I posted this picture on 500px, a place where I think I can learn from other photographers, and was greeted with multiple clicks within a short span of time.

I was excited.

It was only last week that I began to realise that this photograph can be presented in another perspective, more surreal yet more punchy and vibrant.

I was watching this YouTube tutorial to learn about split toning and immediately worked on my favorite photograph. And guess what, the final (final is an understatement as I believe it could be different after sometime when I re-visit the same picture again) piece is an astonishment to my own belief, and I love it very much, much more than my initial edit.

20150131-DSC_0042

So for the past two weeks, I’ve re-edited some of my favourite pictures and gained more “Likes” in 500px and Instagram. It may not be as many as hundreds but I’m contented to know that my pictures are liked by more people now.

20160123-_DSC0076-Edit 20160130-_DSC0039 20151110-_DSC0009 20151118-_DSC0021 20151214-_DSC0066-2 20150617-DSC_0020-2 20150614-DSC_0119 20150617-DSC_0102-2 20150617-DSC_0114 20150717-DSC_0011 20150614-DSC_0149-2 20150131-DSC_0035-Edit-2 20150131-DSC_0011-Edit MrBrownRoad-1 MrBrownRoad-1-2 20150619-DSC_0431

There is of course the belief that photographers (though I’m not one) should spend more time in taking pictures instead of editing pictures and I strongly believe in that too. But given the lifestyle that I live, my personal commitments, my daily routines and job, I have to take a step at a time. My monthly photo challenge will be there for me to enhance on my photography skills, while I spend a couple of hours in the daily evening learning how to edit a photograph to my own liking.

I’ve yet to find my own workflow and eventually my own style, and I may not find it at all, but I’ll just let it be.

What I’ve truly learn recently is editing photographs is like creating one’s own life, where we decide on what best fits into our own eyes. I can bring warmth to a particular scenic picture, I can add color tones, I can increase the vibrancy, or bring down the saturation near to grey scale. It’s all up to me how I want to see this world and how I want others to see my world.

And that’s what photography is to me now…

10.02.2016

Francis Lim

Click here for my 500px uploads

Click here for my Instagram uploads

 

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