26 Weeks Camera Challenge #23: The Project, Edit / by Simeon Smith

Your photos aren’t as good as they could be. None of our photos are. Due to the very nature of photos they can be endlessly replicated with slightly different tones, slightly different colouring, printed on different paper or manipulated in a thousand other ways. 

Even if you’ve previously edited your photos, if they’re going into a book, being printed and framed, or being showcased online, you’ll want to edit them again for the task at hand. You’ll want your photos to look good in the setting. You’ll want your photos to  be the best version of themselves they possibly can be, with the latest editing techniques you’ve only just learnt. For this reason I always keep my negatives, and the original scans of my images from film, and the original RAW files for digital work. When the V&A come knocking for hi-definition images of your most iconic pictures in 10 years time, you’ll want to be able to go back and check every inch of each image. 

This week, edit or re-edit every image in your project.

  1. Editing doesn't have to be involved or complicated, it’s fine to use Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s also fine to use free software or whatever came on your laptop. 
  2. Try to divide your work into two distinct areas: Corrective and Creative. First sort out any “problems” with the image, get everything looking as you wish it would have come out of the camera. Then you start work on any creative edits.
  3. Compare your image to the unedited image to make sure things aren’t looking crazy unnatural. Compare your image to other images from artists with similar styles to your own, just to make sure that your vintage hues don’t make everyone look jaundice, or you hi-contrast black and white work looking less Magnum and more Banksy (unless that’s what you’re going for, of course!!)

Questions:

  1. Do you have a distinct look or feel you’re going for when you edit?
  2. Do you value consistency or diversity in your work?
  3. Who’s work should you be comparing your edits to, to improve your craft?

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