Image Editing, Delete It

Hiker standing on rock in morning fog along Cedar Brook during the summer months in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of Lincoln, New Hampshire USA. This area was part of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, which was a logging railroad which operated from 1893 - 1948.
Hiker in brook moving arms – Deleting it

Image Editing, Delete It – In the photography industry, it is well known that we photographers are the worst when it comes to editing our own images. We think our images are flawless, no matter how blurry and soft they are. And no photographer likes hitting the delete button, but if an image is bad you have to. Today, I am going to give you a break from the scenic backcountry images I usually post and share with you images that are just plain terrible. I hope you enjoy this lighthearted post on image editing.

The above shot of the hiker standing in Cedar Brook in the Pemigewasset Wilderness moved his arms right when the shutter button was triggered. I like the scene and set-up, but find the arm movement distracting and it ruins the shot. I am deleting this image.

Moose on the side of  the Kancamagus Highway (route 112), which is one of New England's scenic byways in the White Mountains, New Hampshire.
Moose, Soft focus – Deleting it

At first glance the moose shot looks okay, but you will quickly notice it is out of focus. I could try to sharpen the heck out of this image, but its not worth it. Heavy sharpening would draw more attention to the fact the image is out of focus. I am deleting this image.

Union Meeting House from 1840-1865 /Universalist Church in 1865. Located in the historical district of Kensington, New Hampshire, USA, which is part of New England.
Titled Church – Deleting it

Titling the camera trying to get a cool angle is something I think many editors hate. And I have never licensed an image that has wicked tilt like the above image. This shot was an accidental pressing of the shutter button as I removed the camera from the tripod. I am deleting this image. 

 White Mountains, New Hampshire USA
Winter Scene With Sun Flare – Deleting it

Sun flare can make a scene very interesting if done properly, but when it is unintentional it can be an eyesore and ruin a beautiful scene. The above scene looks good, but once you study it you will see small amounts of sun flare. In my world, sun flare doesn't make it through the first edit (most of the time). I could take the time to clone the sun flare out, but I have decided not to with this one. I am deleting this image.

Reflection of forest in Thorne Pond during the spring months. Located in Bartlett, New Hampshire in the White Mountains along Route 302.
Over Processed Image – Deleting it

And then there is the over processed image. The above image is just plain bad, and it is very over processed (intentionally for this article). Though guilty of over processing images, I am not a fan of this look, and I take great measures to make sure my images look as natural as can be. I am deleting this image.

Some flaws are worth trying to correct while others are not, and I think trying to create a masterpiece out of a bad image is a waste of time. Working photographers spend countless hours editing imagery, and tight editing is essential to building a solid and marketable image archive. Always remember, if you see a flaw in your image, I will see it, and guaranteed, an editor will see it.

Happy image making..


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Erin Paul is a professional photographer, writer, and author who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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