Modern cameras have so much range in the raw images that you can take them in an infinite number of directions, and sometimes this is paralyzing. It’s all too easy to create six different variations of an image that are all good, and picking the one you want to show people can be a challenge.

Here’s the original:

I shot this image with a reasonably clear final result in mind, but during processing went a different way, and then changed my mind and went another way again. It started off with some high contrast blue highlights, cranked up to a faded blue, which I really liked.

But then I thought… What if I de-saturated the brighter areas, heavily saturated the shadows, and threw in some bright vignetting as well? Bring up the shadow layers a bit and brighten up the top end a heap? Drop the contrast, tint the shadows even bluer… I spent a surprising amount of time creating a new image that was only subtly different.

But, well. This I like. The skin tones are less blue, the overall impact is much greater, and yeah! This! This is good.

It’s less overall blue, the skin is more natural looking. The brightest areas are totally de-saturated, the shadows are heavily over-saturated. It’s nice to finish an image and know that it’s the best version for a change.

But what if I….