Image: iPhone via Double Exposure

I am now taking my time (my spare time of course!) and sifting through the 7 rolls of film I used while on vacation. As I am going through the physical prints of the trip, something hit me. “This is a TON of pictures!”. There are 252 to be precise.

Have you ever printed out 250 prints or more and spread them out in front of you? Then after they are there in all of their splendor – search for the handful of images that best represent the story you want to tell? It’s a challenge!

It made me think about the volume of images it is so easy to give a client. Recent years has brought the “Just shoot and give me a disc of images” mentality into full force. I have heard photographers say they deliver 1500+ images as a final edit. I can only imagine printing those 1500 proofs and spreading them out in front of me. I would most likely get overwhelmed and do the out of sight out of mind routine…

I have a feeling that most people that are on the receiving end of this feel the same way. The outcome is that the images stay on that disc never to see the light of day. Where is the value in that? The treasure? I suspect it becomes an island of indecision and the favorites worthy of putting in a book are never selected.

I believe there are a few problems that need addressed:

1. As photographers, we need to do a better job of editing. Editing means trimming the fat. Removing the images that take away the value of the standout images. It’s lazy to not be a good editor, because we then pass the responsibility onto the people we serve.

2. Educate our consumers. Value the services we provide in high regard with their best interest in mind.

3. Break the mentality of “Volume is Value.”

4. Start printing our work. Feel the pain. Sifting through prints vs a computer screen is like paying with cash vs using a credit card. When you pay with cash, there is a tangible feeling of letting it go. When you pay with a card, you don’t get that same feeling. So when you feel the urge to deliver 1,000+ images, just print them. Examine them, sift through and see if they are all worthy of being delivered.

I am going to return to my image selection process to make a priceless book for my family to treasure.

Do you struggle with editing? Have you tried being more brutal on your selections? What advice can you give us?