Just in case you think I am exaggerating, I will go ahead and lay down my shame and share it with you here. First pic is the SOOC original, 2nd pic is my frightening christmas card edit (apparently I had an affinity for yellow or yellow blindness), and the 3rd is more like what I would do today.
Lesson #1. I will be slow to criticize other photographers and their choices. None of us are perfect and certainly none of started out perfect. If it weren't for a handful of mentors who encouraged me to improvement, I might still be editing my children to look like squash.
Lesson #2. I will never think that I have it all figured out or have this craft mastered. Remember, I thought that middle picture looked good enough to send it out to 300 of my closest friends!
Lesson #3. I will remember that, in editing a picture, my personal goal is to help tell the story of my image and then to correct any mistakes of the capture. It is NOT to draw attention to my edits.
So today I would say I have come full circle and my images are looking more and more natural. A friend of mine said of Mackenzie at Chubbyfoot once that she barely edits her images. Looking back I think that was an incredible compliment. I know Mackenzie takes great pride in the editing of her images, but when you see them you see flawlessness not over enhancement and that is the way it should be. And that is what I aspire to be.