Small Changes

A few years ago, I wrote a series of posts about making small changes that led to big results. That sounds like a weight loss ad, but that’s not what I mean. One of the changes, for instance, was where I set up my yoga mat in my bedroom, which led to an increased desire to practice. All I did was change the angle my mat faced, and I tripled the number of times I got on the mat during the month. Another example is that I placed a pillow between my knees while I slept, which aligned my hips better, which decreased the constant tightness of my right sciatic area, which eliminated plantar fasciitis pain entirely.

Anyway. I’m a bit believer in small changes leading to really big results, and this is another post that explores that. This time, rather than physical changes in my life or environment, I’m going to talk about digital changes, ie photo editing.

I am still very early in my foray into photo editing and digital software. Hell, I’m still fairly early in my foray into photography! But I had an experience this last week that just blew me away in its simplicity. It starts with the above photo. One morning, I went outside to document how well the mistflower garden was holding up, and I saw that some of the plants were blooming for the first time. I took some photos, including one of this mystic spires salvia. I took the photo because the bloom – which was already there when we planted – was thriving, while the leaves seemed to have shriveled in during the cold front and ice storm. The photo itself ended up being lovely, and the above photo is the original, entirely unedited.

Once I uploaded the RAW file onto my phone, I decided to do a small amount of editing. The photo didn’t need much, I thought, but I made a few small changes. I cropped it slightly for better composition; tweaked the exposure, brightness, shadows, and contrast; and sharpened the photo a bit. I almost always add a tiny bit of vignetting to my photos just because I like the feel of it, but I didn’t want to do much of that here, so it was the barest amount. I made no changes to the saturation, temperature, or tint. The final result, with just a few small changes, is this second photo.

They look similar, but at the same time, the second photo is drastically improved. There’s more depth to it, and even though I did no work at all with color or temperature, it looks more true-to-life and vibrant. More real. I put the two photos side by side in a collage to really highlight just how much of a difference these tiny changes made.

One day, I know I’ll look back at this and see all the things I could have done to improve the photo even more, if I’d only known more about digital editing. That’s how any new journey begins, yeah? I won’t pretend it’s the best photo or the best editing job in the world, not by any stretch of the imagination. But honestly, I’m just so excited to be taking these baby steps, to learn and to grow, to explore this new creative outlet. It feels so wonderful to bring to life the world around me in images!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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