We often refer to “photoshop work” done to individual images as “editing”. In reality this work is more adjustment than anything else. For our purposes, editing is the process of selecting the photographs that will appear in the book.
Editing is neither quick nor easy (even for experienced editors) and there is a method to accomplish this... Those who use a raw file format need to take special note here – when judging the image for exposure, color balance, contrast, etc., you should not use the raw file. At the least, bulk process all of the raw images to give you usable photographs and do your editing from there.
First, go through all of the images looking for ones that are obviously not going to make the grade technically. These could be images that were either under exposed or over exposed, images that are poorly focused or have other, obvious technical flaws. Get rid of those images.
Next, go through the photographs and winnow out the duplicates. Now, the editing process to select the images for the project begins. As you start, remember that you are now looking for the images to include in the project not to exclude. This is positive editing not negative.
To begin, select a group of photographs to create a pool of possible images that will be included in the project. As this is not the final cut so you will be selecting more photographs than you need. The next step is to walk away from the project for a little while. Give yourself a break. Go do something else. Then come back to the project.
The second cut will be a lot more exacting and you will need to be a lot more critical in the selection process. You will need to make sure each photograph selected supports the story or communicates the message of the project. You will also have to make sure that the photographs support each other. The next step is to walk away from the project for a little while. Give yourself a break. Go do something else. Then come back to the project.
Now comes the third and final cut. You are going to be absolutely ruthless in the selection process. Look at each photograph to not only assure it supports the story or communicates the message, but make an assessment of how well it supports or communicates what you want to show. After this selection process, you should now be down to the photographs that will be used in the project.