Can You Re-Edit a Photo and Get a Better Result?

Can You Re-Edit a Photo and Get a Better Result?

A few weeks ago, I beat Lee Morris in our Puerto Rico Landscape Challenge. With that victory, many of our readers said my edit in Photoshop was simply too over the top. Today, I try to re-edit my photo to see if I can create something a bit more realistic.

Have you ever spent hours editing one of your photos only to make a stupid mistake like resizing it for web and saving over all your hard work? Yeah, I hate to admit it, but I’ve done this a few times. I’ve noticed this strange phenomenon where it is almost impossible to ever edit a photo a second time and get similar or better results. 90 percent of the time, I will still prefer the initial edit no matter how much time I put into the second edit. 

Despite this common theme, I thought it would be interesting to try to edit my landscape photograph of Las Garzas Waterfall in San Sebastian a second time. Taking some of the comments from our readers on YouTube to heart, the goal for this second edit was to decrease the overall saturation, make the colors look more natural, resize the photo to a vertical composition, and also edit the entire thing in less than 10 minutes. As an added challenge, I also decided to use completely different raw processing software.

The folks over at Skylum Software liked this second edit idea and decided to help sponsor this article and video by supplying me with a free trial of their newest photo editing suite, Luminar 3. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never really used Luminar 3 before, although Elia Locardi has used their Luminar Photoshop plugin in a few lessons of “Photographing the World 4.” The standalone software is designed as an all-in-one photo editor that allows you to cull, edit, batch, stylize, and catalog your entire photo library all in one piece of software. 

For someone like me who hasn’t deviated much from the Adobe ecosystem, Luminar 3 was pretty intuitive and even had a few interesting tricks packed under the hood. Unlike other raw editors, Luminar 3 is built around customizable modules or effects that you can add to your own workflow. This means that you only have to add and view the exact sliders you like to use when editing your photos, but even more than that, Luminar also allows you to save different workspaces to use for different genres of photography. You can check out a bunch of the cool features packed into Luminar in the video above, but let’s now take a look at the final edits below.

Original Edit

Second Edit

At the end of the day, I have to ask myself if my theory of “is the first edit always the best” still true? I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the vertical crop that many readers suggested, but I do think I like the natural colors a bit more when I see them side by side. It was fun using Luminar 3 to edit this photo, as it allowed me to try a completely different approach to my raw adjustments than what I would have done in Photoshop or Lightroom. This second edit was completed in less than 15 minutes, whereas the original edit took me about 45 minutes start to finish. I can credit much of that increase in efficiency to using Luminar, but I also think a lot of time was saved simply because I was familiar with this file, because I already edited it once before. 

What are your thoughts? Do you like the colors and/or the crop in the second image better or do you think the first image still stands out with the slightly over-the-top color grade? 

If you want to experiment and try editing some of your photos with Luminar 3, you can download a trial here for free. Also, Skylum is offering $10 off any of their software to Fstoppers readers if you use the promo code “FSTOPPERS” on the Luminar 3 sales page. Unlike many other photo-editing programs that charge a subscription model, Luminar 3 is only $69, and you can use it as much or as long as you like. 

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