My Workflow Process…
I have had a number of friends ask what my process is of taking and editing photographs. I like many could write a book on the subject but instead I will try and be brief. And there are much better and more educated photographers then myself, but this is my take.
When I grab my camera like many I shot a large number of photographs of a given subject. My goal from any one shot is to get just one or two photographs that I think I could either publish or sell regardless of the number of images I take. It is a lot harder than you think.
When I get back from the shoot I always upload them to the computer and do a quick edit. If I have time I do a “hard” edit. I am looking for detail, focus, exposure, depth of field, shadows and which angle I like of the subject. When photographing wildlife or sports you are always hoping that everything is in focus because you are not photographing a static subject.
I use Lightroom and when doing my initial edit. If I think the photograph has merit I will give it one star and eliminate the others from my hard drive. During a second edit I review all that I kept and compare any that are similar, decide which I want and toss the others.
Next I take it into the darkroom and see if I can obtain what I was seeing in my mind when I took the shot. If I can I continue to develop the photograph and if not, I toss it.
Then I make a decision which is always hard for me. If I think I can sell the photograph, print the photograph or publish the image I keep it and give it four starts, if not I toss it. And if the image is one of my very favorites I will give it five stars. If it sells I will add the color blue to it.
I can’t remember if it was Scott Kelby, Anthony Morganti or another’s opinion that I had read but if you are not going to do any of the above why keep it and take up room on your hard drive.
Now with that said I do have a small number of photos that I consider “snaps”. These are the “been there done that photos”, pictures of family and friends etc. and I do keep those for memories.
In closing I like many of you I am sure have thrown thousands of photographs away. Every now and then I do a very hard edit to get rid of things that I thought I would print, publish or sell but on review they do not reach the bar.
Recently I decided to give my choices another look. I had close to 13,000 images that I thought met the bar I had set. Then I decided I was going to do an EXTREME EDIT. I went through every single photograph and if it was not in absolute focus whether I like the shot or not I tossed it. I went hardcore and if I was ever going to publish, sell or print the image, I tossed it. You can see where I am going with this. In the end I tossed another 6,000 photographs. This process literally took me 2 months working on it almost every day. Now I believe that every photograph I have kept has potential.
To hopefully alleviate having to do this again I have now promised myself that I will do the extreme edit right away. Usually I do the edit within the day or two of the shot. Then once I think I have it a day or two later I go through it again and go “extreme”.
I find this works for me. So far on this latest adventure in Cambodia and Thailand I have done an extreme edit on everything and I have kept 370 images. I have also thrown away at least triple that if not more.
I hope this has helped you make a decision on what to keep and what to toss. The key is DO NOT behind as it takes forever to get caught up. I have gone through multiple very hard edits over the years and have still found images to toss. I have literally thrown away 40-50,000 photos in the last 10 years.