I wanted to send out a message today about never giving up and use my own work as evidence to illustrate my point.  I began my professional photography career in March of 2007.  The side by side image comparison you see here was shot 4 months later on July 17, 2007.  I am very fortunate that I kept my raw file of this image taken in New Bern, NC with my Nikon D2XS because just last night I re-edited the image to what you see on the right.

Everyone struggles.  Everyone sucks at something....EVERYONE.  Nobody on this planet who is great at what they do started that way straight out of the gate.  Yes, as people we have different talent levels.  Yes, some people will progress faster than others and achieve higher levels of profiency than others, and yes some people just have a higher ceiling than others.  But here's the key message....you don't know what your ceiling is until you hit it.  I've been doing photography for nearly 6 years now, and I still haven't hit my ceilng and you can believe that I'm gonna keep going until I do.

Critiquing my own image.  Here are the following problems with the image on the left that was edited 5 years ago.

  1. Overprocessed- this is a BIG problem for nearly all new photographers.  We can't achieve the results we want so what do we do?  We overprocess the image to make it look cool.  Don't confuse artist preference with overprocessing.  There is a big difference!  While I make my images now look more like a painting, and some may love it and some may not, that is done out of a preference choice.  Not because I don't know better.  
  2. Lack of detail- because I tried to make the sky look "cool" in the image I made the image darker, but because I didn't have a grasp on layers and masks in Photoshop, I didn't know how to only focus this effect on one part of the image.  BIG MISTAKE!  As a result you lose all the grass, corn fields, trees, etc.
  3. Harsh light- the house is completely all wrong.  You can't see the left side of it, the contrast between the bright and dark parts is entirely too strong.  OVERPROCESSED!
  4. Diffused glow filter- I used this on the sky to give it a cool look based on advice I received at a workshop.  BAD ADVICE!  Sometimes less is truly more.
  5. Masking issues- look at the bright part between the sky and the cabin roof, you can tell that I didn't do proper masking......UGH!!!!

I could go on and on because the picture on the left was edited so poorly but leave it to say that you need to never give up, never stop pushing yourself to improve, and keep searching for your ceiling...may you never hit it!