Learning from your photos

In Standard by Patrick

Now that we all have more time to do more photography, it is amazing what looking at your own photographs can teach you. This is something that we should all be doing anyway to push our photography forward, but specifically, look for trends.

I personally have noticed from processing the images that I have taken recently that while always trying to get it right at capture, I find that in post, I prefer the images slightly underexposed.

This little guy was a willing subject while waiting for his chance to grab any seed that might fall from one of the feeders. While I like how the subject is isolated against the background and makes him the center of attention, the photo still seems a bit bright to me.

Of course everything looks great on the back of the LCD as it is shown in JPEG mode and it is only 3 inches wide, but once I opened this in Photomechanic and then in Lightroom, it became clear to me that I wanted to take the exposure down.

How much? I found that I was consistently preferring images underexposed by 1/3. So much so that I have a preset for that. This a very subtle difference. So much so that even scrolling up and down and looking at these images it is difficult to see. Here is a before and after of the above two images side by side:

Squirrel-no-exp-comp
Squirrel-exposure-comp

The bottom picture is the underexposed and I like how having more black in the image looks. This is a matter of taste for some and this is just my style of photography. How can studying your photos and style help? It will allow you to see trends and help in defining your likes and dislikes. This is important so you can then translate that to the camera and reduce time in post. This is why I review my images and how I continue to learn from my photos.

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