The Evolution of an Iguana

The original image of the iguana with only a few basic adjustments in Lightroom.

The original image of the iguana with only a few basic adjustments in Lightroom.

Over the past few weeks different people have asked me what I do when I process my photos, so I thought I’d share a bit of the madness behind my method (if there is one). We had a great time over the holidays with my family on a cruise. One of our excursions was on a boat ride down the River Wallace in Belize. We enjoyed spotting some wildlife and saw loads of iguanas along the way. This is one of the better images I got, especially since his eye was in clear view. I made some initial adjustments to the lighting, contrast, and clarity of the photo in Lightroom, but several things were bugging me about the results.

 

A tighter crop of the iguana, but the background still left me feeling, "meh."

A tighter crop of the iguana, but the background still left me feeling, “meh.”

So I ran the image past a few members of my cohort in the Arcanum. It’s always great to have a community of individuals with similar interests but different visions to help you hone in on your creative mojo. They ran several suggestions by me, most of which were to help me focus on the story of the image. This meant a major recomposition through cropping. I felt like I did when I write: it is very painful to cut down an image (or a piece of writing), but it often makes the work tighter and more impactful. So in order to avoid casting Mr. Iguana on the cutting room floor, I had to sacrifice his tail. This new crop eliminated much of the clutter that was distracting the viewer’s eye from the iguana’s face. Continue reading