On the 25th of this month, I shall be releasing a new e-Book. This one is about tonal relationships and their importance during the editing of our work.
For the past two years I've been offering a Digital Darkroom workshop which specifically deals with how to interpret ones own work. It's not a 'learn Photoshop' or 'learn Lightroom' course as those kinds of skills can be picked up from many sources. What can't be easily taught, is how to look at your work and see relationships within the unedited work, and how to utilise these to realise the full potential of your vision.
During these past two years, I've been thinking about how to possibly simplify my message about editing. It all really comes down to seeing tonal relationships in your images and working with these to bring your images forward.
At the moment, there seems to be a real imbalance between those that value fieldwork tuition and those that value post-processing tuition. Although many of photographers have adopted post-process tools such as Lightroom or Photoshop, I feel the general consensus at the moment is that the skill lies in the capture stage, and the post stage is something anyone can do. I don't entirely agree with this.
For me, the edit stage is an enormously creative place to be. Although I give 100% of my effort to capture something in-camera that I love, I also give 100% of my effort to the careful birth of my images. In my digital-darkroom I will spend days thinking about tonal imbalances, colour-balance adjustments and further aesthetic changes I wish to convey in my work. This is an absorbing time for me where I find myself reliving the work, immersed in the memories of being there making the shots. I also get great satisfaction from feeling how the images morph and change as I adjust and impart my own vision onto them.
However, you may think that the edit stage is a place to cheat, or to try to make things better than they really were. I've never seen photography as 'this is how it was' but more 'this is what I felt', or 'this is how I feel now' about the images. I do believe that any image we choose to work on in the edit stage should already display great potential and I only choose to work on those where I am inspired to do so.
I believe the image is never complete once we click the shutter; we're only truly half way there.