I have been using Lightroom since Lightroom 2 came out. I have also been taking photos for quite a few years now (since 2008). Over that time, I have made a lot of captures and archived thousands of images.
What I have started doing lately is revisiting my image archives. This is not only to see where I was with my technique back then but also to see if there were any images that were worth re-processing with fresh eyes and with a more advanced image processing engine in the latest version of Lightroom that I am now using (which for me at this time is Lightroom 4 even though version 5 is currently available at the time of this post — I just decided not to upgrade yet).
This time around, I discovered these images that I took at a nearby park back in March 2010. The left image (the before) is how they looked after being processed with Lightroom at the time (I believe it was Lightroom 2). The right image was my reprocessed version in Lightroom 4.
When I found the image in my Lightroom catalog, I liked the composition but did not really like the bland, dirtiness of the sky. Using the processing engine of Lightroom 4, I decided to pump up the Black levels and increase the Contrast a slight amount. I increased the Shadows to see what kind of detail it would reveal but it introduced too much noise for my liking so I brought it back to the default. I really liked the sky but wanted to see how I could make it more interesting so I decided to play with the White Balance sliders, specifically, the Tint slider to introduce some magenta into the image.
Even with some adjustment to the Tint, the sky was still pretty blue, which was nice, but really wanted to see a bit more magenta in the sky. Some would say that this might be over-processing, but I still wanted to push it a bit. I added a Gradient Filter extending from the top of the sky to just below the horizon line. With that, I applied some more Saturation, Clarity and a move in the Tint slider again in the affected area to bring the changes to the sky only. From there I was satisfied with the results and felt it was a huge improvement over what I left in the archives 4 years ago.
After settling on these modifications, I noticed I had another similar but dead looking image in the archives with a slightly different composition. I copied all of the adjustments from the first image re-processing above and applied them to that other image resulting in the image on the right-hand side below.
I was quite happy with the difference the new processing approach took and that it allowed me to breathe some new life into some images I had long forgotten.