Exercise: Editing

Photograph editing is the process of choosing the best picture or pictures from all those you have taken. The pictures that are the closest to, or better than, the ones you imagined in your mind’s eye when using the camera. Editing involved also finding pictures that you thought had failed when you took them, but suddenly afterwards appear to work because of some chance or unexpected element. Editing has gradually acquired more than one meaning. It is sometimes known as ‘Processing’ which uses image editing software. With this exercise, the word Editing will be used with its original meaning. With editing images, you will be using a selection process in which the less-good images in a set are winnowed away to leave the best images. This is an essential and active part of the creative process, and is an extension of shooting.

As you shoot, there are many occasions when you will know perfectly well that some images, even of the exact same subject, are better than others. For example, perhaps you may find a camera angle or lighting, that looks better. This process of improving on an image you have already taken, is an important part of developing your photographic eye.

When you come to examine photographs you have taken, on the computer, you will then be expected to make a choice. The choice you make later, may not necessarily be the choice you made at the time of shooting.

In order to make sense of the many possibilities when faced with a set of images, it generally helps to follow a standard procedure. This procedure is not forced upon you to use, however, it is very useful and a very sound method. Once you have uploaded your images onto the computer, you would then want to use the following step by step method.

  1. The Technical Edit: Remove any images that are faulty or mistakes. Images which may be over or under exposed, out of focus or camera shake. Place these images into a separate folder.
  2. The Selects: Once you have removed any mistakes, you will be left with technically fine images. From these images, choose any images which satisfy you creatively. Place these images into another folder. These will be known as ‘The first selects’
  3. The First Selects: These are the group of images which you have decided are the best out of all of them. You must then look through the first select images, and choose approx. 4 images as final choice images. Place these images into a separate folder.
  4. Final Choice: You would have started off with a large amount of images. You should have whittled them down to a handful, and then chosen your 4 final images.
  5. Editing/Processing: My next choice would be to edit the final 4 images you have chosen. Use your image editing software. Once you have processed your images, you may not decide you want 4 as you final decision. You can then choose 2 as your completed final choices.

For this exercise, you could combine it with a previous one from this set of work. I decided to combine it with the first exercise, which was workflow 1, where I had to take portraits. I have explained and showed my workflow for this, however, I will explain it some more, especially the editing side for this particular exercise.

Step One: I began by uploaded all of the images I had shot, onto the computer. I created a new folder which was named and dated.

Transfered to computer

Step Two: (The Technical Edit) I then created a new folder, where I would then transfer any images which were obvious faults or mistakes.

Mistakes and Faults Image

Step Three: (The Selects) Once I had removed any faulty images, I was then left with images which were all technically fine. These I class as the selects.

The Selects

Step Four: (The First Selects) I then had to look trough the remaining technically fine images, and remove any images I decided were the best out of them. Ones which I could edit or process, and would make great final images. I place these into a new folder called The First Selects.

First Selects

Step Five: (Final Choice) From the first selects, I then had to narrow it down even more and choose approx. 4 images which were overall the best.

Final choice for editing

Step Six: (Un-Edited) I should then have my chosen 4 images which I can then start the process. I have included the images un edited as I want to explain how I edited them and why I chose the edit them the way I did.



I decided that these would need processing/editing, as my model would need some re touching on the blemishes and marks on the face. I also wanted to convert them to Black and white portraits.

Step Seven: (Editing/Edited) I made 2 copies of each original image, as I wanted to see if I preferred the edited image in colour or black and white. I used Photoshop Elements 9 as my image editing software. I retouched all of the marks on my models face, on all of the images. I also made sure the brightness and contrast levels were ok. I cropped the full length image also, as I wanted to crop the stuff out of the picture on the right hand side. I made a colour and a black and white image. I used the same process for each image.

(Final Edited Colour Images)

1 Colour2 Colour4 Colour3 Colour

(Final Edited Black and White Images)

1 Black and white2 Black and white4 Black and white3 Black and white

Step Eight: (Finals) Once I had edited everything. I could then choose my 2 final images. I decided on these two.

1 Black and white2 Black and white

I decided on these two as I wanted black and white portraits. I find them more striking to look at. Once I had processed them and removed the blemishes etc, they came out really well. I was very pleased with the final results.

Overall Opinion:

Editing/processing images is a very interesting technique, and is quite fun to do. You have no limits what so ever when it comes to editing. You can change colour, backgrounds, lighting, hair colour, eye colour. The choice is yours, and that is what I like. In my opinion, as long as you stick to the procedure above, you should always end up with great looking final images. The rest is then up to you, such as editing (Using editing software). I enjoyed the editing exercise. I do still need to learn how to use my Photoshop elements 9 a lot better. I do read as many books as I can or tips online, however, I always forget how to do it once I am set loose on editing an image. This is the one thing I know I must learn and I will sit down one day and write down the tips I need.




John Ingledew, Photography. Laurence King Publishing, London, 2005.

ISBN: 9781856694322


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