I don’t know about you but I have quite a large backlog of images I’ve never really culled and/or edited. I get home from a trip or other photo outing and do a quick scan through, pick out a few images that jump out at me, edit those, post on social or upload to my website and then move on.

What about the images left behind?

Meanwhile, there are plenty of decent, editable shots sitting on my hard drives that have yet to see the light of day. What happens to those? Do you just forget about them and move on?

Lately, I’ve been taking the time to go back through them, cull and edit the keepers. Doing this has made me realize that there are days (months/years?) worth of shots I never even really went through the first time.

Wells Cathedral
Taken in 2010 at Wells Cathedral

How to make the editing process more pleasurable

Some of you love the editing process and it’s how you completely create your art. For others of us, it’s something that feels more like a chore, we don’t always enjoy the editing process and the time it can take. What are some ways that can help us to enjoy the process more?

Go back to images that you love in the first place

Remember that amazing trip you were on or really fun event you attended? Editing images from these will bring back great memories and won’t feel like such a trudge to edit.

Cannes, France
Taken in 2016 in Cannes, France

Eliminate distractions while you edit photos

How many of you edit while doing something else like watching TV or listening to music? My guess is most of us are doing at least one other thing while we are working on images. Are you sitting on your computer with 30 other tabs open in your browser? Is your phone pinging with notifications while you’re trying to edit? Remove distractions and you’ll be more productive. Quit checking your phone, your email and what the score is of the game you have on.

That said, I do believe that music can enhance your editing process as long as it helps you focus and doesn’t distract. I love listening to instrumental movie soundtracks or calm, Zen-like music when I’m trying to focus.

squirrel
A 2013 photo of a squirrel

Create a space for yourself

Where do you edit? Making space for yourself is a great way to also help you eliminate the distractions mentioned above.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own office space make sure that it can double as a creative space as well as a workspace. Pay attention to the lighting. While it might be fine to have bright office lights for your job/work, they’re not always so conducive to making your images be true to exposure and color. Decorate with the things that help you create, images you’ve created, photography from those who inspire you, music posters, plants and whatever it may be that helps stoke your creativity.

Glacier Bay
Taken in 2013 at Glacier Bay

Set aside the time to edit

This is likely the hardest one of all but I’ve learned over the years to put this in my calendar. Schedule it. Make and take the time to spend on culling and editing your images.

We’re all busy but we spend the time creating images, we should also make sure we take the time we need to go back and look at what we created. Have the house to yourself for a day? Perfect! No plans this weekend? Take half a day or the whole day on a Saturday or Sunday and dedicate it to editing images.

Taken in 2014, “Wishes”

Obviously, if you are shooting for clients you’re not letting their images sit on your hard drive for years — at least I hope you’re not. This project is more for those of us who get back from a day out and find that one wow shot, edit it and then forget about the rest. Or, we’ve been traveling for a couple of weeks and we’re completely overwhelmed by how many images we have to go through, so we just don’t.

So, are you the “edit right away” type or do you, like me have years of images that you really need to and want to go through to cull and edit? Make it a project, be a hermit for a weekend or more and work your way through your catalog. Oh, and FYI, the images in this article were found and edited from my archives, 2010-2017. I have not even touched the surface.