My Photo Editor Mind - Thank you postcard

Emails are great ways to say thank you, but considering some people get hundreds of emails a day, a postcard or thank you note is a keepsake. Maybe I’m old-fashioned and just like receiving notes or postcards in the mail, saving them and putting them on my bulletin board or on my desk.  But it’s something to think about when you meet an editor, client, or colleague; a postcard with your images, phone number, and email address might be something to think about when marketing yourself.

My Photo Editor Mind – Ouch, did that hurt?  

I always write these blogs about problems I see with photographers or websites or whatever it might be. And after I post something, I will later read it and wonder if it might have been too harsh. I hope I don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. I’m just trying to keep you from making the same mistakes I’ve made. As a photographer, I made a ton, so if sometimes you read a post of mine and it seems quite personal, it is. I made that mistake and I’m hoping to pass along some knowledge so you won’t have to.

My Photo Editor Mind - You know you know

Part of my job as a photo editor is to help and guide you to make your images better and tell you the truth if there is a problem. Lately is seems I’ve been telling a lot of truth. It’s actually really hard to do, and something I take quite seriously. The funny thing is, whenever I tell someone that maybe their project isn’t ready, or it’s not enough for a contest entry, the usual response is “I know.” Not one person recently argued with me. I guess you wanted me to tell you what you already knew deep down inside, I get that. That’s what I’m here for.

My Photo Editor Mind - The Way I Edit

I was talking to a client recently and sensed that he was somewhat hesitant as we were talking about his work. After a few more minutes, he finally said that he was afraid that my honest approach was going to turn into me ripping him (and his work) apart, breaking him down and building him back up. This is not the way I edit and coach. I remember as a photographer having that happen to me. It put me in a funk for days, and the recovery period was so long. Days would be lost in me thinking about my future. Eventually, I’d pick myself up and go and improve, but the editors that were really helpful didn’t crush my dreams and spirit. Nor did I lose days on self-loathing. Maybe that’s why I edit like I do now. I am honest but feel that by building on what a photographer does well not only strengthens the photography, it builds confidence, and with confidence comes positive thinking and success and general improvement in all aspects of photography.  

Let’s face it. For the most part, photography is not the best paying job out there. You are in this profession because you love it and bring a lot of passion and dedication to it. Different photographers have a different take on the world. You bring your experiences to the table. In the world of photography, there is a place for everyone. So go get ‘em!

My Photo Editor Mind - Be Quiet Please

You’d be surprised by what your images are telling me. I can see what your passionate about, how you arrange the content, and what lengths you will go to get a great photo. It’s almost like peeking into your heart and soul. What lens you favor, your understanding of light and composition, your ability (and desire) to have an intimate relationship with your subject – All of this is revealed in your images. I bring this up because when you sit down with an editor, some photographers talk too much, trying to explain every nuance about an image, what they were trying to say with the image. I’m telling you your images are saying so much, so the next time you’re sitting down with an editor, let the pictures speak for themselves. All that talking actually detracts attention from your images.

My Photo Editor Mind - David Saxe

One of my favorite things is to see a photographer grow and explore how they take images. I am looking at David Saxe’s recent work in Cuba, and he is doing just that. At the young age of 75, he’s the hardest working photographer I know. I started working with him a few years ago and through his travels, I’ve been taken to the many places he has discovered, from his home in the U.S to Brazil, Cuba and Chile to name a few.

I love how David explores a place through his images. David likes to discover a place and does this through his photography. He’s not a planner or researcher, but instead, with camera in hand, he learns about the people and culture. I love the chances he took. He really stepped out of his comfort zone, and the results are my favorite images that he has taken to date. Here is one of my favorite images. To see more of David’s work you can visit his website:


My Photo Editor Mind - Captions, captions, captions

You’ve spent a lot of time (and possibly money) to capture the perfect images to tell a story. You have great pictures, and then what do you do? Rush through the captions so they’re incomplete and lack any relevant information. But those pesky little captions are just as important as the images. It’s all part of the game, and you get judged on everything you do. Incomplete or bad captions tell me you aren’t paying attention, you simply don’t care, you don’t have the information you should have gathered, etc. But you’re a professional photographer. You’ve done the work. You have the information, so slow down and give me those fabulous captions. 

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 of 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!