Blogging My Book: Getting the Photos Right

In last week’s post, I noted the challenge of getting the words right, and the people who are helping me do that.

Well, there’s more to this coffee table book than words. It’s also going to feature my photography.

How many photos have I shot? Thousands. How many keepers? That number is approaching 500. How many will actually be included in the book? A few dozen.

In short, I’m a picky photo editor. And, as noted above, most of what I shoot is not worth keeping.

The Photographic Hall of Shame

What makes me delete an image in the camera or while I’m at the computer? Here are 10 reasons why I send images to the Photographic Hall of Shame:

  1. There’s no obvious point of interest.
  2. The scene is too cluttered.
  3. The entire image is out of focus.
  4. Part of the image is in focus, but a wider area should be in focus.
  5. There are distractions in the background, like a light pole that’s growing out of a bird’s head.
  6. There are distractions in the foreground, like a leaf that’s blocking the view of a flower.
  7. The image is too dark.
  8. The image is too light.
  9. The image is too far away.
  10. The wide angle lens set too wide, which bends the straight lines in walls, fences, and other structures.

The good news is that some of these images can be saved. If I’m working with a near-miss, I’ll print and annotate it. I’ll write comments right on the printout – too dark, focus over here instead, try using a different lens, watch out for that branch. Whatever. The point is to take a good look at my work and note what’s needed for improvement.

The next step? Well, I go back outside and re-shoot the image until it’s safely beyond the clutches of the Photographic Hall of Shame and worthy of publication.

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