The Process of Editing Images

I’m like a bee or bird, always attracted to bright and contrasting colors. The repetition of red elements against the blue sea and sky is what drew my eye to this scene.

When I travel, I take a lot of images.  I find that I average about 1,200 to 1,500 a week when I’m on the road.  That means a lot of images to edit.  That also means a lot of images that may not deserve a second look, so I thought I’d explain the process that I’m going through right now as a I edit my images.  I’d love feedback about any of the images, or feedback from other photographers who have a different editing process.  I’m including a few random images that I flagged during the intial pass of the first week’s images.

On the Road: Download and backup images.  I use Adobe Lightroom to download and edit images.  I create a catalog on my laptop just for that trip, which I’ll later integrate into my main catalog.  At this point, I go ahead and keyword with locations, so I don’t have to worry about remembering the names of places visited.

Beira Mar at Sunset, Fortaleza, Brazil.

I may go ahead an flag images that I really like at this time, but I usually don’t spend a lot of time editing pictures.  I’d rather be out shooting, than sitting in front of my laptop in a hotel room.

Backup:  If you read my previous post, you know how important it is to back up your files.  I back up to an external hard drive, using Super Duper.   There are tons of great software programs out there to help with back ups, I recommend using one that you can schedule to run automatically, so that your back up is reliant on you remembering to run it.   I also make sure when traveling that my laptop and backup hard drive are in separate carry-on bags.

Home Sweet Home:  Honestly,  when first getting home after a long trip, I usually don’t want spend a lot of time with my images.  I have a lot of life to catch up on.  I need to spend time seeing friends and family, playing with the dog, doing laundry, catching up on sleep, mail, life in general…. you get the idea.   But then there is also the impatient part of me, that’s ready to start looking, sorting and editing.

Vendors selling fresh coconuts are always out along the beach. Aqua de Coco is especially refreshing on a hot day at the beach.

I start by copying the files onto my main computer.  I organize my images into folders by country, and then sub-folders for city or region, within the city folder they are in folders by date the image was taken.

Editing: Lightroom has a lot of tools to help photographers organize images.  Since I’ve switched to Lightroom, my images are better organized, and easier to find.  The first thing I do as I go through the images is to “flag” or “reject” them.   I “flag” ones I want to come back to later and “reject” the total failures (out of focus, bad exposure, accidental shots.)    Ones I really like I will also rate with 3 or 4 stars, but I usually wait to rate them until the second look.  Flagging and rating images is very helpful, because I can later sort the images so that all I see are the flagged images, or the 3 star images.

Foot Volley is a cross between soccer and volley ball, and is a common game played on the beaches of Brazil.

That’s also helpful when your friend comes over and says, can I see your shots?  and you don’t want to show all 6,000 images! (and I’m sure they don’t want to see them!)
So, that’s where I am now.  I’ve sorted through the first 3,500 images and have flagged less than 800 for a second look.  While doing that I also put a few into “A Collection” for sharing on the blog.  I’ve picked a few from that collection to show here.  These are some of my first impressions of Fortaleza.


About emilynaff

Photographer, Traveler, Teacher
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4 Responses to The Process of Editing Images

  1. Daniel Mills says:

    One of the things I’ve started doing, and it’s more for documentation purposes than anything, is making sure you have a check in on FB for each location. For security purposes, I will privatize the post, but will upload 1 photo and tag it to a location. That will help me create the set for that area/time/place/etc. It also makes the map within Facebook very cool to look at. In terms of editing, Lightroom is far and above the best software out there – Aperture has nothing on it, in my opinion.

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