Improving my old pictures through photo editing

Photography is a skill that requires many years of practice to improve the visual art, or even a lifetime to master the art of seeing. The art of seeing is the most important factor to master in photography, rather than the type of medium one is using to take pictures.

Editing has become a very important work process after i had finished my photo assignment. Uploading the pictures into the computer. I am relaxing in my environment, able to have a clear view on how my pictures are like in detail on a large screen.

Recently i was browsing at the Hong Kong images i capture in 2009. Oh yeah, it has been a really long time. I realize many of the pictures weren’t to my standard anymore. However, i see the hidden potential to improve my old pictures through better photo editing skills that i learned over the years – with the help of Lightroom, a brilliant software to make digital photography editing easier. More importantly, i am able to see how to make my old pictures look even better than before.

The following will be a series of pictures that i have made an improvement using Lightroom only. I am going to highlight some images of the before and after, sharing some technical editing process on how and why i adjusted it.

BeforeAfterI dislikes how the lines were converging. So i adjusted the scene to be more properly vertical. Is more pleasing to the eyes as well.

Major distortion in this Hong Kong styled old building picture. Despite making the vertical adjustment, the top of the building was cut off. Keeping the building straight is my way of photography in the last few years. The original colors were pale, so i improve the colors saturation in minimum. The decision to edit this image is because of the unique facade. This was also the first building i capture in Hong Kong

BeforeAfterImproving on the contrast, saturation, and clarity in this image. I want to clearly see the reflection of the buildings from the tram glass panel. If this picture is printed in a bigger size, you will also be able to clearly see the tram driver too.

Basically, i love how the red cloth and signage is placed in the picture. I like it symmetrical style that time. The picture before was not straight for my liking, i need to make an adjustment to make the scene balanced. Also, increase the contrast a bit more to make the red color more punchy

BeforeAfterTaken in the mid afternoon, the entrance to Tai O village was in shade because of the cloud coverage. Is not possible to have a balanced exposure in the front and back due to the lighting condition in the camera. The entrance was distorted and corrected. I really like this scene because of the fishing village style, and the welcome sign to invite the visitors, this is a very nice tourism touch to it.

BeforeAfterIn this scenic view of Tai O fishing village. I have adjusted the perspective, increase the blue and orange colors to make the scene a bit more eye catching, also slightly increase the shadow to see more details. Increase blue sky by +45

BeforeAfterReduced the highlight to -100 so the sky would not be flat out, as least i can see some layers of cloud. Increase the saturation a bit more to bring out the overall dull colors.

The statues were hidden in shadow in the original picture because of the sun position. The picture was slightly distorted. Colors were pale. By increasing the shadow i am able to see more of the sculptures, the red colors is more stand out as well.

BeforeAfterAdjusted the temple entrance to be vertically straight, increase contrast and saturation. Pull out a bit more blue color from the sky as well. But if you over do it in pulling out the colors, image noise will be very obvious.

Pull out the shadow from the under exposed area, increase yellow to bring out the shine from the sculptures. Next, i import the picture to Photoshop to fix the pagoda distortion due to the wide angle.

Basically to make the scene a bit more saturated. Over the years i saw many beginners would edit their landscape scene in over-saturation, such result is awful and not realistic. 

BeforeAfterFor this night scene, i was using a wide angle of 24mm to take picture of Victoria Harbor, but it was distorted, the horizon was slanted, i lose a bit of sharpness due to the strong wind for the season. Vertical perspective was shifted, rotate the scene to make the horizon straight. Increase sharpness and reduce noise. I also increase a bit of saturation to make it more vibrant.

In order to improve your editing in photography, not only you have to shoot in the subject that you are passionate in. You also need to practice the editing as many times as possible till you are so good at it. It would be great to invest in a good monitor for your picture editing if you do not have one.

I also provide photo editing service to turn your not-so-fantastic picture into a good one, provided i see there is the potential to do it.

If you are not sure whether are you doing it correctly? Or you need help with your old travel pictures editing. You can always drop me an email for advice.

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