Learning to edit photos in Adobe Lightroom the way that I do was a bit of a journey for me. At times I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of all there is to know about such a craft, but recently I realized just how much I have learned through the process. Here are a few of my thoughts…
Fail enough times at the same thing and you will eventually succeed.
I recently read Rework by Jason Fried and Heinemeier Hansson and I totally agree with them on the point that failure is not a badge of honor or necessarily anything to be proud of, but even if you aren’t bragging about your failures I do think there are some things that it’s totally okay to fail at without having to feel like a failure.
Editing photos is one of those things. I honestly believe that every photographer has gotten this wrong at some point or other. I know I made my fair share of mistakes. There were times when I really thought I could never succeed. Truly.
I would sit there and think “when am I ever going to get this??” But eventually, after a million tries and what felt like forever, I would get it.
You will too if you keep trying. No matter how it feels, keep trying.
Rejoicing in other’s failures is never going to help anything.
Okay, I’m sure that in my mind I never thought to myself that it actually would. But I do know there were times when I was struggling that I just went and looked at someone who I thought was way worse than me at editing to make myself feel better.
I would compare in the worst way. I would think “well, I might not be able to get the exact look I want, but at least I’m not as bad as that person.”
What a horrible way to live! Of course it never actually helped me achieve what I wanted in the first place (figuring out what I was doing wrong) and we should only ever be looking at other people’s work to encourage them and build them up!
Teach. And you will be surprised how much you learn.
Now this is not to say that you should just teach someone no matter if you know what you’re teaching is right or wrong. Teach them what you know works for you and tell them honestly when you don’t know something.
Then go figure out how to do whatever it is they want to do and then teach them how to do it. It’s a great way to learn, but especially if you feel stuck in your progress.
Gain trust first. Always improve.
If you put yourself in the place of a professional, act like it, and gain people’s trust, they’re not going to question little details like whether a photo edit actually looks professional. They’re simply going to trust that it is.
Now, you could certainly use this to your advantage and never improve in areas that are challenging to improve in. Don’t do that. There are businesses that do that and they get lost in the noise. But just know that this gives you space and time to grow and improve without having to obsess over making sure every. single. detail. of your business is perfect tonight.
More is not always better.
Sometimes it’s just more. It is totally possible to edit a photo too much. So much that you ruin it. And it’s surprisingly easy to do. Find someone close to you who is not afraid to give you constructive criticism and ask for it frequently. It’s so easy to get lost in the work that you don’t stop to ask yourself whether it’s actually good work.
At the end of the day, photography and editing photos has taught me so much more about life than I ever thought it could. And I’m happy to say that I’m still learning every day! Let me know: what are some things that editing photos has taught you?