My Photo Editor Mind – Pt. 5 Let’s Edit

If you thought the shooting was hard, this can be the toughest part because you have to take a critical eye to your images and delete, sorry….but yes delete some of your favorite images.

To begin, gather all of your images and start going through them, obviously removing some of the ones that aren’t so spectacular. Think about what you wanted to say when you began and think of the ways the story has changed since. Keep going through the images, slowly removing them, comparing similar pictures, identical images of the same person, doing the same thing. That’s easy enough, right?  

Next we need to sequence the images.

I always think an opening shot is the grabber; I want to know more about whatever it is I’m looking at; this image also has to introduce me to the story; it can be a glimpse of the story. It has to be something that peaks my interest and makes me want to click onto the next photo. I don’t think when you sequence the images they have to be in chronological order, so keep that in mind when you pick your opening image.

Sometimes after I have picked my opening image, I might look for the closing image that sums up the story. So now I have my opening and closing images.

I want a sense of place, who the subjects are, their struggles, their emotions. I want visual variety, details, tight faces. A sense of time if there is one. Think of the transitional images; sometimes peeking in a window can take you inside. Another trick is similar images, one inside one outside. You are telling a story, so think of the words to describe each photo from one to the next, say them out loud, do they make sense in the order you have them?

Once I have a rough outline of the images I want to use and in order, I use Slide Show to run through the images. I don’t have to click through photos, so I can take a step back. It’s amazing how much it helps when you are not actually touching the images but just watching them, seeing how they relate to each other, if the order feels good. Sometimes, I don’t get past 4 frames before I stop it and change it.

Best advice, when you feel frustrated walk away. I find even though I might not be sitting in front of my computer, my mind will continue to think about an image, wondering if I really need it, am I using it because I think it works for a transitional image, but it’s not that strong. I might come back hours later or sometimes the next day.

Now go through all of the outtakes; seriously, all of them. I’ve been so close to trashing photos and then pulled them back into the edit. Maybe at the time it wasn’t what I thought was going to work with my initial idea, maybe I didn’t look closely enough at it. Seriously, everything. I always, always, always do this. Always.

Be patient with the process; you’ve spent an awful lot of time to get these images, now take as much care in editing them.

And if you need help, you know I’m here to help.