Shoot For The Edit
While in Kona recently I sat in on a lecture by Ron Londen, a talented photographer/designer/writer/editor – a man with more talent than one person should have. Anyways it was nice to listen to the thoughts of someone who is on the receiving end of images for a living.
If there’s one thing I loathe it’s the need to edit my images – I lose objectivity and by the time I’ve been staring at them for a couple hours I’m not even sure they’re good anymore. You know how sometimes if you say a word too many times over and over again, or look at it too long on paper, how it stops sounding right or looking right? Same thing with me. (By “edit” I mean the selection of images, not post-production, which is sometimes called editing. It’s not. It’s post-production.)
Anyways here’s the point. Actually two points.
1. Shoot for the edit. Knowing, or anticipating, the needs of your editor or art director, should change the way you shoot. Not only in the kinds of photographs you take, but have you got horizontal images for a spread, or a vertical with enough headroom for the masthead? If the AD asks for a wider shot with a little more room, have you got it? The easiest way to do this: ask. Find out their needs in the broadest terms possible and shoot to that need.
2. Editing. Ron teaches how to do a basic edit with a mathematical paradigm of ADD – SUBTRACT – DIVIDE – MULTIPY, and I’m finding it helpful to stay focussed in the process. Goes likes this:
Add all your images to the collection.
Subtract the ones that immediately don’t make the cut, this is your first pass and you should be pretty heavyhanded.
Divide the resulting edit again into keepers and losers, this is your second pass and it’s pretty much a binary yes/no decision.
Multiply – Sometimes single images don’t tell the whole story, so look for small groups of images that may not stand on their own legs but when viewed together their impact is multiplied and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Of course, all this still doesn’t help once I’ve stared at them for hours, but it’s a start. If you understand the editing process you’ll more readily be able to shoot for it. In fact, it’ll make you a better shooter if you can anticipate the edit.
If you want to make your editing job easier, make the best of the rating, labels, and collections within Adobe Lightroom. The more comfortable you are with these features the easier this whole thing will be. Got a great tip for the edit process, leave a comment.