Ioana Moldovan, a documentary photojournalist from Romania, contacted me right before she went to Toronto, Canada to shoot the Invictus Games. After working on the story for months before the games (the training, the relationships, etc.), she decided she wanted to turn the story into a book. Count me in, I said. She sent me close to a 1,000 images, and she needed them edited before she got on the plane so that she had a better idea of what to shoot while at the games. I did the edit over the course of several days and then started thinking about how to lay the images out and which to showcase. When she returned from the games, she had some great images, and we began working those photos in with the already edited photos. Within days (and hours of phone calls), we were done.
Want to publish a book? I can craft the images so they flow perfectly and highlight your best work.
I recently had some friends in town, and eventually, we got to talking about my job. They knew my title but not many details. Most people don’t know what a picture editor does. “Oh, you edit pictures? You just pick them?” Oh my, it’s so much more than that. Some of the hats I wear are: Therapist – a lot of times people are in a crisis situation and need either a shoulder to cry on or moral support. Mentor – helping guide a photographer to strengthen their photography, improve and grow. Butt-kicker – sometimes that’s what is needed, stop complaining and get to work. Project planner – helping you define a picture story to improve the visual reportage. Picture editor – actually picking a few pictures out of hundreds that will tell the story in the most powerful way. Website organizer – Well, I think you get the point. A picture editor is that inner voice you need to help you succeed.
Lauren Stewart wants to be a travel photographer. She came to me about six months ago and wanted help to improve her photography and start selling it. We narrowed down her vision for travel photography, defining who she was as a travel photographer and where to focus her energy. Lauren has a natural ability as a photographer; her compositions are strong, and she has a great sense of space and texture. We’re working on her getting closer to her subjects, but I know she can do this.
While she’s working on her photography, she teaches English in China during the summer and teaches tennis classes at the University of South Carolina when she’s back home. Also, she tutors English as a Second Language to students at USC and volunteers at a child’s language learning center that promotes cultural understanding.
Here is one of my favorite pictures Lauren recently shot in Kashmir.
You only get once chance to make a first impression, and if that first impression is poor grammar on your website, my opinion of you just sank. I’m not saying you need to write poetry, but for goodness sakes, the grammar and spelling should be correct. I’m talking about simple things like, “I worked [on] the New York Times.” Seriously? Which leads me to captions, if you can’t write a simple sentence, I’m guessing your captions won’t be very good either. Take some time; have a friend look over your website. Your pictures can be great, but oh those words matter. Poor grammar and misspellings take away from your professionalism.
I recently saw a movie that was shot in the badlands of South Dakota. There was a million scenic shots of the country and landscape, over and over and over, another one and another one, but there was one thing missing from almost all of these shots. Good light. It’s as if they picked the worst time of day to shoot these, as if the photographer couldn’t be bothered to wake up at sunrise (or stay awake until sunset).
I was seriously peeved by the time the movie ended because I had to be tortured for 90 minutes with this onslaught of bad images. Granted, there are times when you don’t have a choice when to shoot something (the event is happening in the middle of the day), but when you do have a choice, remember that good lighting is a major factor in a great picture. It can add drama, texture, and emotion, or direct the viewer’s attention to a certain area of importance. After all, what is photography? It’s painting with light. So get painting!