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Ten years ago was June 2008.  The weather was warm, and we swung by the Portland Rose Festival to see the navy ships come into town for Fleet Week.

A navy ship moored in the Willamette River, with the Oregon Convention Center across the river | LotsaSmiles Photography

We were also planning for our wedding, at the time a year out.  We had the fortune of visiting our venue the very week we would be wed, so we had a very good idea of what the weather would be like and the conditions we’d face in the Gorge on our wedding day.

But boy, was I an awful photographer.

Priding myself on knowing photography well, we were very stringent with the selection of our wedding photographers.  But I look back now and realize I knew nothing (John Snow).

This was the best from that June:

An altar on a grassy lake bank, with evening shadows stretching toward the viewer (unedited) | LotsaSmiles Photography


The evening light is pleasant in this photograph, but there’s otherwise very little that is interesting.

Things done right:

  • I like the composition with the altar in the corner, the shadows, and the flowers.
  • It’s well-exposed, and the colors are pleasing.

Things done wrong:

  • The lighting is a bit harsh, so there’s some nasty aberration going on.
  • I should have repositioned myself to make that light post less of a prominent feature.
  • I could have had Aaron sit in the empty space on the right to improve the composition.
  • Even with a faster shutter speed, there is some blur to the photo; the image just isn’t sharp.  The quality would have been better with a tripod.  But at the time, I was more in snapshot mode.  I think the bigger issue was the fact that I was shooting with the kit lens at f/3.5.  The lens wasn’t the greatest quality, itself, especially maxed out on aperture.  And that aperture is far too wide for a scenic shot such as this (f/8 or f/11 would have been much better).
  • As with all my other photos of this time, I shot in jpeg.

Take 2

An altar on a grassy lake bank, with evening shadows stretching toward the viewer (unedited) | LotsaSmiles Photography

I didn’t edit this the first time around, but there wasn’t a lot to do, as I feel most of my mistakes were in taking the picture.  Therefore, there’s not much to do to recover it in post; the edits are quite light.

  • I performed my usual slight boosting of shadows and added a touch of vibrance.
  • I removed the chromatic aberration that comes with such high contrast.

The more I look back at my old photography, the more I realize I was really bad.  But I suppose that’s good, right?  Because that just means I’ve since improved.  Will I cringe at my favorite photos of today in ten years’ time?

Only time will tell.

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