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.

My Photo Editor Mind - Take a breath

Take a breath. Maybe it’s the time of year, but I’ve said these words to quite a few people lately. Either 1) there is so much going on you can’t seem to cover it all, or 2) nothing is going on, and you know there is something happening but you just don’t see it or can’t find it. But running around like a crazy person isn’t the answer. Let’s take the first thing. You have a ton to cover, you need pictures of everything, that’s what the client wants. Okay, I get it. That’s tough, shoot everybody and everything. Whew! But instead of constantly running around, even if you have a few minutes at one site/event, stop and take a breath. Survey the land. Look around and focus on what you are going to shoot. 

Now, if the problem is that nothing is going on, running around chasing nothing isn’t going to help. Once again, survey the land. Set up in a place where the odds are good you might see something, get comfy and wait. It could be a scenic place so you would get a nice shot to begin with, and then again, take a breath and wait.

My Photo Editor Mind - Websites run amok

Why does your website have anything and everything you ever shot? If this is just for vanity, go right ahead, but if you are trying to get work, stop for a minute and think what you are telling me. I’ll tell you: I have no sense of who I am as a photographer. I have no idea what a good picture is, or for that matter, what a good story is. I care more about my ego than I do about the message of my images. I think every picture I take is worth viewing, which clearly translates into I don’t know a good picture if it hit me over the head. If you hire me, you will have no idea what you are getting because I clearly have no sense of myself. Get it? 

That’s not to say any of this is true, it’s just the message you are sending. I can help you organize your website so your message is clear.  

My Photo Editor Mind - Editing a book

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.