Week 1 Self Portraits - Behind the Scenes and Lessons Learned
Lesson 1 - Don't rush it if you don't have to.
I was excited to get the first week's idea captured and I immediately pulled the card and dumped the shots to the computer. 155 shots in all. The progress bar in Lightroom downloading and generating my previews was painfully slow because I wanted to get started right away!
Step 4 is where things broke down. Instead of reviewing and starting to process the best, I immediately focused in on one shot and worked it, and worked it, and worked it. Then I was excited and said "I've got to post this right away". Here's what I posted:
Should have kept to my original plan because I think I would have changed my mind and posted the shot at the top or this one instead. But oh well, it's done and over. Lesson learned.
Lesson 2 - If you're doing to process a shot heavily, sleep on it.
Sometimes we process a shot a lot because we have to. Maybe it was accidentally too dark, too light, too grainy, too....whatever.
Other times we may process a lot because it is an artistic choice. If you took bracketed shots maybe you aren't sure which merge technique to use...manually blend with layers or HDR? And if HDR, which methods? Maybe you want a really moody shot, or grainy shot, or you want to make a black and white really powerful with strong filters.
Whatever the reason, my lesson learned was that when you're finished, you aren't really finished. You'll come back to it again and tweak it. I was going for a heavily grungy look, and it was a conscious artistic decision, not an accident. However, after I posted the week 1 shot I ended up tweaking it hours later and I liked a slightly softer and brighter version just a touch more. Not sure if you'll agree, but this is what I ended up with on my 2nd edit:
I put this lesson to work on the next shot however, because I was again going for a heavily grunge and beat-up look...almost like a boxer after a fight. Here's what I came up with, but afterward I decided it isn't me and I wouldn't have used it anyway. It's just...too much.
Lesson 3 - Don't stop when the first goal is reached, see what else you've got.
I ended up processing a number of the shots from that first day. I narrowed the 155 photos down to 6. Almost 4% return on investment...I'm happy with that to be honest, given I was doing something new and uncomfortable (studio self portrait).
Even though I can't use these shots for the other 51 weeks I've got ahead, I still kept them. They felt good enough that I may do something with them in the future. Who knows what. Maybe I'll know for sure once I sleep on it :)
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