Don’t Edit Before You Edit!!

In Photo Organization by Joshua Fagans0 Comments

Previously posted on LinkedIn

A long time ago in a place not too far away, photo editing meant something very different than what it has come to mean today. A photo editor was a position held by somebody back at the office of the newspaper or magazine. They were the ones that chose which photos would run. This was (is) actually a critical job. In the case of a magazine like National Geographic the number of photos printed can be on the order of 0.05% of the total number of photos captured. And you thought you were a bad photographer!

Edit has now come to mean altering a photo by changing its brightness, contrast, applying filters, etc. In other words something else entirely.

…the most important part of the post capture workflow!

One consequence of this shift is there is no longer a good way to talk about the process formally known as editing. This is unfortunate because it is actually the most important part of the post capture workflow! Way too many people start tweaking their photos before they even figure out which are the best. Way too many products ignore this problem letting photos pile up into seemingly infinite lists of thumbnails.

Sorting and Adjusting

Let’s agree that from this point forward we will call the process that used to be known as editing: sorting and the process that is now called editing: adjusting. Thus don’t edit before you edit becomes don’t adjust before you sort. Now instead of editing 10,000 photos the we sort 10,000 photos and adjust only 10. Seems like we may be on to something.

A new approach…

To be sure it takes discipline to work this way but if you have ever seen a professional rip through thousands of photos purely sorting them before even dreaming of doing anything else you begin to realize how efficient this approach can be. We will talk more about this as the blog progresses.

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