As creative people, we tend to believe that taking photos is the most important part of our job. And to some extent you could argue that it’s the case. Without a great portfolio filled with great images, potential clients might just never actually get in touch with us. But years of experience have shown us that it’s actually only the tip of the iceberg.
Between all the (boring yet necessary) admin tasks, accounting, updating blogs and websites etc… Time starts becoming a hard-to-find (scarce) commodity. It becomes so precious that at some point or another we might get tempted to take shortcuts and go to bed early for once!
What we’ve noticed is that the first aspect to often suffer in these cases is the client’s expectations. We don’t respond to emails on time, we get all nervous about deadlines and the editing process becomes all but a joke. And this is what I’m going to talk about today – well, among other things…
Although we’re planning on talking about workflow on this blog soon, I wanted to touch on Editing a little first. It’s such a crucial part of the overall process, we can never talk about it too much.
So let’s start by defining Editing: in the words of xxxxxxx , it is the process of “removing unnecessary or inappropriate material from a text, film “
In other words, the result of the editing process is the bit of your work that does actually see the light of day. One of those images WILL be used for an advert or on a website, on a newsletter or a newspaper article or simply be delivered to the client. And it will carry your name with it.
It’s a very powerful vehicle if you know how to use it and it comes at 3 very important stages:
1/ During the shoot: it seemss silly spelling it out right now but why would you shoot/keep a shot you know won’t make the final cut? It takes more time to copy onto the drive. More time to go through them at the first pass. More time to do anything to it really.
2/ post shoot: that’s the obvious one. You clearly don’t want to be sending so many images to your client that they wouldn’t know which to choose. This can result in a huge waste of time. And more often than not the client will NOT make the choice – he/she will simply ask for the lot and that’s just more work to deliver for us. More images to process. Bigger zip files we send.
3/ portfolio: that one is probably the most overlooked item in this list. If anything, a photographer should pay great attention to how they present themselves to the outside world. Yet, as Zack Arias shows on his “critique” episodes, we tend to think with our emotion rather than our head. We put multiple images off a same shoot, redundant and repetitive frames. We try to fill up the gaps. And we fail at showing our best work! Ouch.
What’s the point?
In other words, paying attention to the process of editing will save you time and make you look your best. That’s already a pretty good reason in itself! But the most important element to come out of it is the following.
The Editing process is your best chance to refine your narrative. (Or if you don’t have any, it’s your chance to find one!)
I read a lot of blog posts and articles depicting the process that such and such used to come up with a narrative. And tbh I don’t think all of them are Being truthful all the way. I think many photographers or artists develop a narrative quite a bit after having started the work. And there’s no shame in doing so. Most artists learn a lot about themselves through creation. This here should be no different.
We, at SODA, just don’t see this business growing without injecting our personalities into the mix and narratives represent a big part of what makes our images what they are: a little bit of us. That’s the reason why some of the content on this site is created by Paul, some by myself and some together. And we both have something different to bring to the table.