No Editing!

David J. Carol


I think the title of this article may be confusing. "No Editing!" sounds impossible and ridiculous. But, here's what I'm getting at. When I work with photographers, especially those that are just getting into photography, I have a rule. The rule is that I must see everything they shoot. No editing, no cropping and no "enhancing" of the photos. Why is this my rule? Well, I think we learn way more from our mistakes than we do from our successes. I'll give you a recent example.

I have a new student that was refusing to agree to the idea that she should show me everything she shot. As she so amusingly phrased it, "I'm not compliant". Aside from showing how funny and witty she is, I thought her refusal to agree would only hurt her in the long run. I didn't give in and somehow I got her to be moderately compliant and it turned out to be a good thing that she was. We met and started going through her photos. The first thing I learned was that, when she shoots a group of photos of one subject, her first two or three photos are always the best. We came to the conclusion that her first instincts of what to shoot were giving her the best images.

The second thing I learned was that she had a pattern of not using about 20% of the right hand side of the frame. I needed to see 10-12 photos of the same subject to pick up on this pattern and help her see what she was doing wrong. These are just two examples of what we saw together that we never would have seen if she had only showed me her 10 "best" pictures.

So the next time you're out shooting and you think things aren't going well, do not delete the bad photos. Save them all and a few days later take a look at all of them at one time and try to see what was going on in the "bad" photos that was different from your "good" photos. You might just see something you've never noticed before. The littlest tidbit of information can go a long way in learning what you might do the next time it seems everything is going wrong. Now go out and shoot!



Exposure Award


PDN July 2016: The Innovation Issue


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