Well now, day #200 of my 365 Edits project has arrived - a whole 6 months. The experience of producing an edited image per day has been very informative to my progression as a rounded Photographer. I started off the project wanting to get better at making my pictures look their best, to which point I think personally I have improved on where I was. The big revelation for me though, has happened in realising that some of my BEST images are pre-destined to be great way before they get to the editing stage, if in fact they ever do.
Looking beyond what Lightroom, Photoshop and nik collection etc can do for my images, I now see a whole new level in the art of photographic creation. Composition is key, planning is key, focus on an idea or theme is key. I wrote a blog post a while ago about being an image Hunter or Farmer which I still agree with, however I personally have recently blurred the lines on purpose between how ad hoc (hunter-esque) and planned (farmer-esque) my photography is.
When going out for some street or city pictures I keep a theme or two in mind - for example "high contrast" or "leading lines". Whilst not planning, this is definitely more than just walking and seeing what happens willy nilly.
The main threads in my photographic life are now clarifying and crystallising every time I pick up a camera. I have an ideas journal with me at all times and any notes or ideas get jotted ready to let my sub conscious work on them later. I think knowing when to plan and prepare vs when to go with the flow is a key skill to learn as it will help you deliver THE desired final result as envisioned. Post processing should be an enhancer not a prop or crutch to make naff images sparkle - after all I've always believed you cannot polish a turd ;)