My Photo Editor Mind - Intimacy – Get closer

I get to look at a lot of images from a lot of photographers in varying stages of their careers – from beginners to experienced and seasoned photographers. And a common problem I see in many photographers’ work is a lack of intimacy. I actually think it’s one of the hardest aspects of photography to master. But if you want to be a great photographer, you have to be able to shine a light on the subject’s essence, their inner self. You are asking someone to become vulnerable in front of you and your camera. By achieving this intimacy, you are allowing me, the viewer, to connect with your subject, and that is when you take your photography to the next level.   

How do you accomplish this? I’m a believer in spending time with someone, lots of time, letting them get to you know you and trust you. I also think revealing a part of yourself helps too, or it might just be taking the time to listen to what they have to say, letting them know they matter. 

It’s tough, but this is when the magic happens. Just as composition and lighting are important aspects photography, so is intimacy.

My Photo Editor Mind - It’s contest time

Oh my goodness, it’s that time of year again where it’s a mad rush to get contest entries done. It’s really interesting how people approach contests. Some get in touch with me a month in advance; others are very last minute. The hardest part of my job is to sometimes tell photographers that their work isn’t contest worthy. It’s hard to do, but better I’m honest than charge someone for unnecessary work. Best of luck to those who are entering; it’s a moment of hope. For those of you still in need of help, I’m here for you.

My Photo Editor Mind - Thank you

Thank you to all the photographers who allowed me into their lives and let me edit your work last year. Through you, I traveled to Romania, South Korea, China, Canada, Ghana, Brazil, India, Kashmir, Italy, Bolivia, Armenia, Australia, and Antarctica, and you found hidden gems in the United States from New York, to Portland, South Dakota to Chicago. You let me into the lives of people I knew nothing about and allowed me to meet some extraordinary people. Here’s to a great 2019!

My Photo Editor Mind - New Edit

I’ve recently been editing a lot of images for photographers who are submitting their work to various publications. The publication usually comes back and wants to see more images than what I picked and the photographer sent. Sometimes, the photographer is somewhat hesitant to tell me this, as if I would be offended or something. Don’t worry. Not offended at all. As a photo editor, I always think I can do a better edit. Maybe it’s ego or years of experience or a combination of both. But when a publication tells you they want to see more images because they want to edit them, I completely understand. The point of my initial edit was to get the publication interested. Now they are, so let them have at it. No offense taken, only happiness they are interested.

My Photo Editor Mind - KISS (keep it simple stupid)

OMG, just because you shot it, that doesn’t mean it has to go on your website. I’m seeing quite a bit of this this week. Less is more; keep it simple stupid; you’re only as good as your worse photo. Most editors, including myself, get a gut reaction about a photographer in seconds, not minutes, actual seconds, first impression and all. If you’re looking for work, you have a few frames, and I’ve made a decision about you – brutal, hell yes, but that’s the reality. So lighten up on the quantity of the photos. Show me who you are and what you want to do, and keep it to the best of the best! Oh, and if you need help, I’m here for you!

My Photo Editor Mind- Are you a travel photographer?

There is a big difference between a travel photographer and someone who has taken some photos while on vacation. A travel photographer has a point of view and says something about where they have been. There is intent and purpose to the images. A photographer who took a vacation, shot some images, and then posted them on their website under travel…well, generally the photos are lacking and are usually not of the best quality. All they really show me is that you went on vacation, that’s it. This is not to say you can’t take great images while on vacation. It just doesn’t make you a travel photographer.

My Photo Editor Mind - What is a freelance picture editor?

What do you do? I get this all the time. A freelance picture editor? What is that? Well in my case, I don’t work for a publication or freelance for a publication. I work directly with photographers. Need an honest opinion of your work? Need help deciding the direction of your future? Need a really tight edit? I can talk over story ideas with you or help you focus your website for the work you want to do. I can help you figure out who you are as a photographer. I can edit for a show, book, workshop, contest, or a grant. I can help you make sense of a video that is overwhelming and has no direction. All that and more, I’m here to help you.

My Photo Editor Mind - Nima Taradji

Finding and following your passion is what Nima is all about. A trial lawyer for 14 years, he had an opportunity to retire, so he turned is life-long passion to become a photographer into a reality. That’s pretty amazing in itself, but I think Nima’s strengths are his pursuit of understanding the world he lives in. You can tell what Nima cares about just by viewing his most recent work, showing the world a different culture, a different point of view, whether social, cultural or political.

I’ve worked with Nima over the last year, and every time I see new work from him, I see him continuing to grow as a photographer, challenging himself to venture into a world he knows nothing about to learn about it. It was no surprise when Nima got accepted into the Eddie Adams workshop last year. Here is one of my favorites images Nima shot last year from the Bud Billiken Day Parade.

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My Photo Editor Mind - It does matter

I spent the day filling out postcards for the ACLU, reminding people why it’s important to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. Following the 2016 election, the fight for voting rights remains as critical as ever. Politicians across the country continue to engage in voter suppression efforts. Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and the fundamental right upon which all our civil liberties rest.  Please vote!

My Photo Editor Mind - It’s a sign

Anyone who has ever worked with me knows signs are a pet peeve of mine. It doesn’t matter: street signs, storefront signs, etc. It’s a sign; it doesn’t have emotion; it lacks imagination and creativity on the part of the photographer. Have I seen good sign pictures? Yes, but they are the exception, not the rule.  

Yes, photos of signs can be funny and clever, and I’ve seen great ones. But a person holding a sign, lacking any expression, gives me no essence of that person, and the sign takes on too great an importance. I always think of it as cheating in photography.  

I’m not saying a sign can’t be part of an image, but if you are relying solely on the sign to tell a story, you’re not doing your job.