On Editing Images - The Good And Bad Are Easy

Let's get this strait - I am probably the worlds worst photo editor. When I say that I don't mean it in the way that I consider general and improper usage. As in image manipulation or ummm correction. I mean plain old editing in the sense of deciding which ones I like and which ones I don't like. I am far far better if there is a client on the other end of the equation and I really don't care about anything other than what they like.

The one thing that I have learned is that I absolutely cannot edit my images the day or the day after I shoot them. Dependint on my mood I either love them all or I hate them all with absolutely no objectivity. Although Objectivity may not be the right word - in fact objectivity may not be what you really want anyway. That leads down the path of pixel peeping and doing insane things like rating an image un-worthy due to bullshit technical reasons that have nothing to do with whether it succeeds or not. Maybe the better word for me is balance. For me to have balance in my in or out editing process I need a little time for the dust to settle.

Once I am a bit more balanced it's not too hard to get through the far far too many images I shoot for the vast majority they fall in to either NO with all caps or Yeaaaaaaaahahhhh with the long drawn out aaaaahhhh at the end. Those are easy for me. Without fail there are a few that fall into the middle - the ones where I cannot decide. These are the tough ones for me.

If I wait another day and go back to them they usually fall into two additional categories. The ones that I wish so bad would work but don't because there is some really giant flaw that I would like to rationalize into somehow contributing positively. These go out the window. The ones that are left are really tough and unfortunately are left to languish in this limbo state for the rest of their existence never to see the light of day.

I swear I am going to start marking these somehow as such so that I actually revisit them someday. Usually I move on to the next thing and forget about them.

Case in point. The image at the top. I shot 5 images in this series. That's it - only 5. All of them are in this state of limbo save one - that one was summarily rejected. The rest…. Ummm well I guess I'll have to come up with a marking system. For anyone interested I am in a very dark room. The room behind is lit by blazing direct sun. I had Mary stand so that she teeter-tottered between the two extremes while I tried to make something out of it. How different were the extremes? Hmmm about 8 or 10 stops. Yea you read that right. The foreground exposure had to be shot at ISO 3200 to be hand-holdable with my lens choice. A bit extreme.

What do all of you think? Any thoughts? I did do something clever in all the images I shot that can be gleaned if you look hard enough. In fact the one that I reject was completely due to my cleverness not working out. It's subtle - I like subtle, usually. Problem is I can't decide if I like the image or I happen to be enamored with my own little mini-triumph. Not a good idea as an artist in most cases.

Seriously - would love to hear your thoughts on this particular set as well as your tribulations of editing your own images and strategies that you use…


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