Exercise 4: Editing

For this project I am using a set of photographs that I took at Saltburn during the summer. Saltburn is a small coastal town on the north east of England. It’s greatest attractions are it’s pier and cliff funicular. I set myself the objective of going through the editing workflow to choose 2 images that could be used for postcards of Saltburn.

Below are the 50 images I took during the photo shoot, displayed in Aperture 3’s image browser. When I uploaded them to my Mac from the camera, I put them in a project titled ‘Saltburn’.

1. Technical edit – during the technical edit I flagged images that were unfocused, over or under exposed. This was easy to do in Aperture by clicking the top right-hand corner of each image. Some of the photographs were taken at dusk. I used their histograms to determine which were under-exposed. With little detail in the shadows it would be difficult to workout the subject of some of the images, so not ideal for a postcard. My pre-shoot preparation meant that I had brought a tripod along with me to use in the low light. Therefore the images weren’t ‘shakey’ and in focus. However it was difficult to ignore compositional aspects of the photographs, but knowing that this would be addressed in the next step of the editing workflow I managed to not let this hinder me eliminating the following 12 images.

Flagged images

In order to distinguish between the flagged and remaining photos, I gave the unflagged images a 1 star rating. Aperture then allowed me to view the images rated 1 star or better (below), removing the images flagged during the technical edit.

2. The selects – I then reviewed the ‘1 starred’ images to look for those that were the most satisfying creatively. I awarded them 2 stars so that they could be distinguished from the others and create my selects (below). The non-destructive editing features of Aperture also meant that I was able to return to my flagged images, just to check that I’d not eliminated any possible selects. My selects all contained an easily identifiable coastal feature. The images that hadn’t been promoted included extreme close-ups that made it difficult to tell that where the pictures were of and therefore not good to use as a postcard.

Selects

After choosing my selects I went back to them after a couple of days, to check I had made the right editing decisions. I had tagged them as selects and they were quick to locate in the project I had created in Aperture. Some of the images were very similar, and so it was difficult to sometimes distinguish between them. Having a break made me think about what I wanted to achieve from this process.

First selects

3. The first selects – Continuing with the rating scale, I allocated a 3 star rating to my first selects. These were images that I felt looked interesting, were technically sound and a good illustration of what Saltburn has to offer. My selects that I chose to discount (seconds) didn’t quite include all of the elements that I felt were needed. Below are my reasons for choosing my first selects:

1.

1. This image contains all of the elements I was looking for. The funicular leads the eye to the pier and then out to sea.

2.

2. There’s a great sense of scale in this image, with the reflection of the sunset cast across the large sea and onto the tiny people silhouetted on the beach. However this could be any beach and doesn’t really illustrate Saltburn.

 

3.

3. Saltburn’s pier is well known locally for it’s distinctive red and white wooden amusement arcade. This camera angle shows it positioned in the left-hand third of the frame, with the sea and sand clearly in view.

 

4.

4. A slightly different perspective of the pier with it leading from the left-hand side of the frame into the sea. It is quite shady and possibly not as inviting as on a bight sunny day with golden sand.

 

5.

5. This photo is taken in the opposite direction to the beach showing the funicular carriages on the cliff. The light gives a warm inviting glow.

 

6.

6. The opposite side of the pier to photo 4. It has been lit by the sun from the side, revealing some of the red wooden beams on the amusements hut.

4. Group and review – After looking at my first selects again I found it difficult to chose 2 clear images to be used as postcards. Comparing them to the other selects I felt that I had made the right choices, however I could have tried these viewpoints at a different time of day, with sunnier weather and blue skies.

5. Final triage – I was quick to eliminate photo 2 since it didn’t have any specific features related to Saltburn. It was whilst I was reviewing the selects that I realised that this image probably shouldn’t have made it so far through my workflow. For me this reinforces how important it is to keep revisiting and reviewing my images throughout the workflow. Meanwhile photo 3 was a good perspective to use for the pier, but the cloudy sky put me off using it for a postcard. Photograph 4 seemed to shaded to use and whilst photo 5 was atmospheric it was difficult to see that it was by the beach. Therefore photos 1 and 6 were my chosen photographs to use as postcards. Photograph 1 was lit well and had everything in it that is iconic of Saltburn and photograph 6 was framed well with the pier leading to the sunset.

I used Photoshop to illustrate what they could look like as postcards (below).

Postcard 1

Postcard 2

I had to increase the saturation on both images slightly and chose an appropriate font style and colour. It was whilst doing this that I thought how more productive it is to wait until the end of the workflow before using adjustments to the images. Before covering these exercise about workflow and editing  I would edit all of my images, changing saturation and exposure in particular. However some of these images used to be deleted and so the time I spent on them was wasted. I’ve learnt that it is worth waiting until the most appropriate images are chosen.

Output – Another helpful feature of Aperture is that it allows me to drop my images into a folder linked to my Flicker account, so that are automatically uploaded.

 

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