Well that was a doozy! Finally through the Belize edit after countless hours of editing/processing/tearing my hair out/more editing/you get the point…check out the gallery here if you like.
Digital photography can be a monster. There’s a false understanding out there of digital photography giving us the opportunity to shoot as many images as possible, with little to no cost at all to the photographer. And really, that’s technically true. Although what many don’t understand is that it costs lots of time and energy to properly manage and maintain a viable, working library or archive of photos. If you don’t maintain a vigorous editing schedule on everything you shoot, before you know it you have terabytes of unsearchable imagery that just sits on a hard drive and keeps you from sleeping at night cause you know you have to take care of it.
What’s the point of all this drivel??? In short, be committed to editing your images on a regular basis. Below are a couple of tips that will help you to be a better editor.
1. Edit immediately: If you can, it’s best to get on it right after the shoot. Why? Well, for the obvious reason, the sooner you get started, the sooner it will be completed. The more important reason, however, is to get on the edit while the imagery and experience are still fresh in your mind. It’s best if you still have a connection to the shoot, with the conditions, feelings and conscious thoughts of the imagery still right there on the surface. Many times, if you wait to edit, you’ll be editing on only what you see, and sometimes, there’s more that goes into whether or not an image is worth keeping around.
2. Edit voraciously:What does this mean? In simple layman’s terms, it means don’t be afraid to hit that delete button. Especially as a pro, you must be judicious with your HD space. Don’t keep anything that won’t serve a purpose in the end. If it won’t add to your portfolio, suit a client’s needs or make for a viable stock image, get rid of it. One way I do this is by rating my images from 1 to 5 stars. Anything that doesn’t get a rating gets axed.
3. Edit continuously: If at all possible, try and get through the edit for a shoot in one sitting. I do this because I believe there is a certain flow to an edit session that contributes to the overall quality of the final edit. I know what I’ve been keeping and what I’ve been throwing out. I know if I see repeat images or concepts and avoid keeping too many of the same types of images that will just clutter my hard drive and selection process in the end. This will be difficult on larger shoots, but do your very best–it will pay off in spades.
4. Edit at 100%: I don’t mean to edit every image at 100%, but when you are deciding whether the image is a keeper or not, do yourself a favor and check the image for sharpness at 100%. It doesn’t matter if the image looks good at thumbnail size–it has to look good at 100%, cause that’s what end licensees/users will be checking. Aperture (and many other editing programs) has a nice loupe feature which allows you to zoom in at 100% on your image, following your mouse cursor around instead of zooming the entire image to 100%.
5. Edit to Edit: Not to process. This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do, and I struggle with it more than any other tip on here. It’s tough not to narrow in on the 5-star images right away and process those in your RAW software app or Photoshop. But be warned that if you get into this habit, you’ll end up with a couple of processed 5-star images and a whole bunch of other crap that never got properly edited. Get through the edit first, and then go back through and watch your images come to life as you work your processing mojo.