You may or may not know that for my day job I work as a live sound engineer. In this line of work there are a lot of variables to take into consideration when approaching any given music event, the size of the space I am working in, the size of the crowd, or the type of music I will be mixing all come into play as I make decisions on how best to approach any given scenario. I would not mix a jazz band the same way I would mix a rock band and I would not bring a small audio system to an event with a thousand or more people. I have to assess the situation at hand and make decisions based on the needs of each specific event.
Like audio, when I approach a scene I would like to photograph I have to take into consideration any number of things, which direction the light source is coming from and what temperature it is, I have to decide how best to use the surrounding environment to best work with the subject, or sometimes I have to decide what compromises will have to be made in order to get the best exposure if conditions are not ideal for a strong shot.
The same logic extends to editing images in post with Aperture. Each photo, series, or location is unique and should be treated as such. No one preset is capable of handling every photo I throw at it. Besides, where is the fun/personality in that.
There are many photographers now relying quite heavily on the use of plugins and post processing to acquire a signature look. While I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong in using a preset filter I do find it to be short sighted to let them define the look of a photographer. Looking back to the film days many photographers would find a favorite film and stick with it. This coupled with their favorite developing techniques to get a signature contrast, color, etc. was key to many collections having a cohesive feel.
At any rate, with my own work I love to experiment, try new things, see what new directions I can push myself in. When it comes to filters and presets I don’t have any installed that I use. I find a much greater satisfaction in editing color, and curves on an as needed basis. Even with the image above my edits were relatively light. I started with a dark, contrasty backlit image and gently pulled up the highlights on my curve settings while setting an anchor point along the shadows so I could get a nice contrast and a bit more details while holding onto the nice contrast. From there I added a slight tint to give it a fresh, unique feel and I was good to go. The only times I get more involved is when I have a photo with a horrible exposure to begin with or some kind of strange white balance issues to sort through.
My point being that I think its wise not to spoil yourself with filters and presets, it can lead you to a portfolio of images that look just like everyone else thats using the same sort of processing and while some photographers are in the market of looking just like everyone else I can’t help but encourage others to explore their personality not only through their compositions and approach but in the way they treat their images after capturing them on film.
This image you may recognize from the iPhone5 pack, the few in there that were not already posted I plan on making available like this one in the rest of the resolution gamut as well. Thanks for stopping by, see you next time.