Tip Thursday: why your photos don’t look like mine

I get asked all the time why other people s photos don’t look like mine. Now I am not being conceited or thinking I am the best but folks do ask me that. Even if we take the same scene at the same time mine seem to come out different.

I have been re-editing some of my older photos while playing with new software. This got me to thinking about this. As I am want to do when a thought enters my mind, i have to chew on it and sort it out. I do some of my best thinking and get some good revelations while in my yard swing.

Back when all of us older photographers started it was film or nothing. The choice was B&W, color print or color slide. With color film it came down to this.

If both of us had the same technical and artistic skills it was choice of processing. If one of us used a better or different lab the photos could come out different.

This equates to shooting JPEG’s with your camera. Each camera is a mini computer that applies the processing it deems necessary. Each one will vary from company, model and individual. This is assuming no post processing and using them straight from the camera. Just like what each lab would do in processing they assume what the photographer intended and process accordingly.

Now, B&W, assuming it was developed in your own darkroom, could be altered according to the developer/printers description. Depending on the skill, experience, equipment, chemicals and process we could have widely different photos.

Even if you used one of Ansel Adam’s negatives, that he developed, his darkroom skills were what really made his photos. The same is true for a digital photographer shooting RAW format.

In RAW the camera does not do any processing and you are presented with a digital “Negative” containing all the data the sensor recorded. Then it comes down to skill, experience, equipment (software and hardware) time and the thought process of what the end result should be.

As you can see there is now way you photos can look like mine unless I take them and process them for you in which case they become “My” photos. Each person must decide for themselves what they want the outcome, of their photographs, to be and do whatever it takes to ensure that vision.

Here are two examples of what post processing can do. set aside the fact that if makeup had been better it would have looked better straight from the camera. I worked with what I had.


It illustrates the difference in what the camera records and what my vision was for the photo. If your photos are not living up to what you want, maybe you need to learn how to achieve your vision. if there is enough interest I might run some workshops this winter.

4 Responses to “Tip Thursday: why your photos don’t look like mine”

  1. Yes, taking out the gray and increasing the contrast makes such a difference. I don’t think my program can highten the highlights this much, however, without making the photo blotchy. Nice work.

    I have cut parts out, edited them separately, and then put them back in, though.

    I do miss film. Digital still feels like “playing,” somehow, while film felt like you were really doing something. I think someone should make a camera that does both digital and film. That way, you’re shooting digital like there’s no tomorrow, and then suddenly you get the perfect shot – so you switch to film, and shoot, and there’s something concrete and immortal.

  2. Wow. You took 15 years off her in the second set. Nice.

  3. Nice work as usual Rick have been following your posts and work since Outdoor eyes kind shut down. Not bad on the video tutorial it is a lot more difficult than most would think. Good to see you shooting and active. Mike

  4. bayouphoto Says:

    Mike, my problem is the age and slowness of my computer. The memory, processor and graphics card are outdated. This makes it hard to run some of the newer memory intensive programs. Thank you for the kind words. Sandra, Tex Indian and myself keep up on facebook.

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