Some photos from the weekend after Easter, when my parents came to visit. I took them on a little tour of the city, and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how everything fits together now!
I edited these photos to make them look cross-processed* I probably spent about an hour and a half sorting through my photos from the weekend, picking 25 and editing them (the ones not shown here can be found on my flickr). Today I want to talk a bit about that.
I edit all the pictures I take. When I didn’t have a good camera and took pictures every day, which would usually mean badly lit places, I really used to do a lot of editing to get the colours right. Now I have an SLR and take all photos outside, I don’t need to do that so much, but I will still adjust the contrast and brightness on any photo, crop it if necessary and give it a border. And then of course there are the photos where I do more elaborate things like what I’ve done here and clones.
Photo editing is not something I get a chance to talk about much. I’ve given up trying to have conversations about it in real life, even with people who have photoshop, because no one is really that interested. And on the blog too, the photography posts get much fewer comments. And I know some people think I’m a bit excessive with the editing. And it does take up ludicrous amounts of time (just like blogging, ha!).
But there are some reasons why I persist.
Someone said to me one ‘I don’t want to to edit me photos, I just want to have them’. And I get that sometimes the photos are just meant to be memories and not works of art, so why spend lots of time messing about with them. But I used to think like that, and now I have an external hardrive full of photos. That I will probably never look at again. There are just too many of them, and I have no idea what they are, and I have no cause to look for them.
In contrast, the photos I have sorted through and edited, I remember them. I do sometimes think of a specific photos, and then I’ll go back and find it on flickr, and be pleased. The way my mind works, I only remember stuff I that I’ve actually done things with. I could read an article now, and next week I will have forgotten everything about it, unless I had some cause to properly think about it, or better, write about it. And it’s the same with the photos. Editing makes me engage with them properly, and then they become proper memories.
Plus, I take so many photos I would drown in them if I kept them all. It’s not unusual for me, even when taking tourist photos, to take a picture of the same thing from three slightly different angles, with different ISOs or white balances or whatever. But I’ll only keep one of them to put onto flickr and delete the rest.
Of course I could just take fewer photos, and I guess that’s what most people do. But then, I do like things to look good. I do like photos as photos, not just as memories. I enjoy the creative process of making them better, and multiple copies and editing are part of that. And I do always find it a bit baffling that people (usually guys, it’s that stereotypical gadget obsession) will spend ridiculous amounts of money on cameras and lenses and then not put in the time to actually use them to their full extent and learn them properly. And I often see people’s photos taken with fancy pants cameras that just look so, well, crap. I see a badly framed, overexposed or washed out holiday photo and I wonder why don’t they just crop it, and turn the brightness down a bit.**
And the final reason for my editing obsession is that I really enjoy learning. I’ve never taken a photography class in my life, but through trial and error I reckon I’ve got pretty good, and I enjoy looking at my older photos and seeing the progression. And I’m curious, so when I see an effect on the blogs, I’ll google it to find out how it’s done and try it out. It’s so satisfying to learn how to do things! I always want to try something new, and with photography and photoshop there is an almost limitless number of things to still discover.
So that’s why I edit! There are of course questions about the editing of people, and the changing of how one looks, which I’ll maybe talk about another time, but for now i’ll just ask: Do you edit your photos? Why? Why not?
* or rather, to make them look like what some types of cross-processed tutorials tell me they look like. I’ve never actually seen a cross-processed photo in real life and I suppose it depends on the film anyway.
** for clarification, if people are using their phone or a cheapo point and shoot, I get it. But if you’ve gone to the effort of lobbing round and SLR with a posh lens, I assume that you care. And then I don’t understand why you’d not take a simple step to make the photo better.