Blog

Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

The Importance Of Editing

After workshops I have been to in the past, I have tended to process and print a few choice images that seem to stand above the others. However, I typically have known which images these will be even before returning home. This, however, has led to a bad habit.

While I have typically keyworded the images from the weeklong workshops I have attended, I have not edited or rated them as a unified group in terms of overall quality. This has led to a situation where I have, from each trip, two or three 'best of' images printed while the others lie dormant and relegated to pleasant memories. It is difficult to revisit these, as they now exist as hundreds upon hundreds (or thousands upon thousands) of unedited images, making it difficult to resurrect the trip or a photo grouping that represents the workshop. Truth be told, the same situation exists with a good deal of the images I have made at home as well.

I have decided to put an end to this situation. Having the photographs keyworded but unedited as a group is not a good situation for the images or for the photographer. I believe it inhibits learning and progress. Picking just one or two 'best of' images from a trip doesn't allow you to have an overview of how you photograph. To see the overall 'big picture' of how you approach photographing a location can give helpful insights into how you think about making images and, more importantly, can give direction on how to get off the path on which you are most comfortable in order to become more creative and extend beyond your own comfort zone.

In addition, looking at a conglomerate of images to rate them will allow for the selection of photographs that might not be 'greatest hits' viewed in isolation, but which are important in the understanding and portrayal of a location. For example, on the workshop I just returned from, the group visited a location called the Atwood-Higgins house. This is a group of cottages that were built by some of the original settlers in the Provincetown region. They are locked (at least they were when we were there), so only exterior photographs could be taken. When looking for 'greatest hits' images, a photograph of an old and unusual door handle would not likely make the cut.....but it would be an image that would most certainly be in a grouping designed to transmit the feel of a visit to Cape Cod.

In short, taking time to cull down hundreds and hundreds of images to perhaps twenty or thirty that truly represent the best images from a trip and which stand together as a group that relates the 'story' of a location is an exercise which I am just beginning to understand the importance of. And I think the timing is just right for me to do this for the images from the Provincetown workshop I just attended.

Edit too soon and you run the risk of being overly sentimental. Wait too long and you lose the sense of place that you had experienced. I will ultimately go back (albeit quite late) and do the same for the photos from prior workshops, but tasks like this are best undertaken in small portions. If the scope is too large the work gets abandoned and never completed. So even if it delays other ideas that I wanted to pursue, I plan to give to the images I recently took the time they deserve.