Sunday, February 25, 2007

Nicki & Kate back in November...and editing thoughts

I've been editing some photos for the kids section of the new website. It's fun even though there are a lot of images to go through. The toughest part of this type of editing is actually just starting, because you know it's going to take some time.

But the results are worth it, often in ways you never expect (like finding this image of Nicki & Kate from our trip to Washington state in November).

The best part about editing your photos months after they've been shot, is that you often find little gems that you may have missed during the first editing session (when the memory of the actual experience of capturing the photos is still fresh in mind).

It's one of the reasons I'm a photo digital pack-rat. I save all my images -- good, bad, indifferent -- because you never know how an image will strike you down the road.

I was editing images for a portfolio a few years ago, and went back to some contact sheets I had made on an earlier project documenting the Amish that I had shot ten years before. I found an image that I was shocked that I didn't see and then select when I initially edited the shoot. Having the contacts and the original negative allowed me to make a selection that I had "seen" on a subconscious level when I shot but hadn't made the conscious decision that it was a keeper until 10 years after the fact.

My friend Dan Milnor reminded me this past week about a book by David Hurn called: On Being a Photographer. And specifically the section in the book where Hurn writes about the value of contact sheets and why you should save them (and review them).

This little gem should be on every photographer's book shelf. He shares wisdom acquired in decades of working in the industry as a photographer and also teaching at a school in Wales. (You can also see more of his work on the magnum site:

Saving your contact sheets is like saving your photographic "notes" if you will. From these you can trace your growth as a photographer by looking at the contact sheets.

This means carving out time for reflection--which is difficult--as we often seem to be hurling head first into whatever is the next project.

In the digital realm keeping contact sheets is possible though it's slightly different. Now there aren't 36 images to one sheet of paper, but I still think that keeping the outtakes as well as the keepers can be a valuable tool to helping one grow as a photographer.


Blogger Kim said...

It really is true, even for me just looking back at pictures even 1 year ago i see new things in them. Its exciting to find new pictures that you didnt even notice before! i love the picture of nicki and kate! very cute!

2:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home