The Art of Editing

The Eye of the Beholder

Whether you have hundreds of thousands of pictures in your archive or a few hundred, the process of editing your pictures down to the ones with the best aesthetic, the best composition, and the ones that illustrate your story or experiences best,  is a process that takes time, patience, and experience.

Here are some examples of near frames and the final selects.

INDIA-10003

Dust storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983


‘I was in a beat-up taxi travelling through the desert to a town called Jaisalmer. As we drove down the road, we saw a dust storm grow … Where we stopped, women and children worked on the road … In the strange dark orange light and the howling wind, battered by sand and dust, they sang and prayed.

INDIA-10003

Dust storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983

 

india-10219nf2khDust Storm vertical

INDIA-10219RJkh

Select

INDIA-10872

Select

_DSC3053

Sahdu, India, 2010

Before the Afghan Girl was published on the cover of the National Geographic magazine, there was discussion about whether or not the image was too strong for the cover.  The person who advocated for putting it on the cover saw something others didn’t, and time and perspective proved that it was the picture that best illustrated the article, and also the picture that has stood the test of time.

34 Responses to “The Art of Editing”

  1. brilliant photos

  2. Marius Pacurariu Says:

    Exquisite!

  3. Jennifer Says:

    I continue to travel back to this site to be inspired and placed in awe. Thank you for sharing you amazing talent of capturing humanity with us.

  4. Respected Steve,

    You are one of the most respected photographer of the world. I express my respect to your work.

    The story behind the image is great !

  5. Tracy gymellas Says:

    What an absolute pleasure to look through your blog Steve.The stories behind the photographs are amazing and some very sad… You seem to capture the moment with great ease and the results are fantastic.

    Keep up the good work and be safe on all your travels..Warmest regards Tracy Gymellas..Kos Greece.

  6. Hi Steve
    I realy enjoy and learn of your works. In most of your shots, you use from ambient light but do you use a flash (maybe with small diffuser) in some of them ?

  7. I just discovered your photographs last night on line. They are exquisitely beautiful and full of soul. Amazing.

  8. Editing, somehow I hate it, or perhaps not, probably it depends if I think I’ve got the picture or not. In any case it is not easy, less if you are the photographer since you involve editing with your emotions and I’m not quite sure if it is good for the overall outcome. Anyway editing and ‘Photoshoping’ is an everyday job for me, so like it or not, it has to be done. :S

  9. Claudio Casparrino Says:

    Hi, Steve. Thanks for teaching us this!
    Thanks for your time.
    I saw your recent exhibition in Buenos Aires.
    Amazing!

  10. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing this.. It helped me in understanding a little bit more on the importance of editing.

  11. Hi Steve
    Thank so much for sharing. The first time I realy saw your work (SUD SUD EST Edition PHAIDON) I cried. You give me inspiration for my paintings Have a look if you have time!

  12. Thanks for this information Steve.

  13. Thanks for a post like this, of the images that didn’t make it compared to the ones that did!
    It helps to get a feel for some of the work that goes into the final image, the one that you share.

  14. Hi Steve. The selected pictures are clearly perfects. For example, in the dust storm, the diffused background, the sharpest colour of dresses, and the perfect balance with the objects at front. I´ll be waiting for your next lesson. Thanks

  15. islandmomma Says:

    Amazing blog. Thanks to WordPress for featuring you, and thanks to you for sharing your experiences and point of view. Can’t wait to read more.

  16. [...] The Art of Editing (via Steve McCurry’s Blog) 3 06 2010 The Eye of the Beholder Whether you have hundreds of thousands of pictures in your archive or a few hundred, the process of editing your pictures down to the ones with the best aesthetic, the best composition, and the ones that illustrate your story or experiences best,  is a process that takes time, patience, and experience. Here are some examples of near frames and the final selects. Dust storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983 'I was in a beat-up taxi t … Read More [...]

  17. [...] The Art of Editing (via Steve McCurry’s Blog) Un increíble blog que he encontrado en estos días,lleno de imagenes y sinceros comentarios. Simplemente genial. Es increíble poder encontrar cosas como estas en la web. The Eye of the Beholder Whether you have hundreds of thousands of pictures in your archive or a few hundred, the process of editing your pictures down to the ones with the best aesthetic, the best composition, and the ones that illustrate your story or experiences best,  is a process that takes time, patience, and experience. Here are some examples of near frames and the final selects. Dust storm, Rajasthan, India, 1983 'I was in a beat-up taxi t … Read More [...]

  18. steve,
    thanks for these but wondering how/why you selected the images you did against some of these others. what set the final ones apart?
    thanks
    alok

  19. makes sense ! very much.

  20. Raymond Says:

    Steve

    Nice images for us. Thanks for sharing.I really want to know what is your final decison.

    BR
    Raymond

  21. Thanks for sharing these amazing images and showing the close to chosen ones. I feel silly for asking but, which where the ones you picked ? the ones that have the title? or the last ones? And it would be very instructional to know why you chose them…

  22. Your images of the dust storm are some of my favorite. Thanks for sharing…John

  23. Hi Steve,

    Have you ever selected few frames and made a collage to tell a more complete story? Or do you always challenge yourself to select only one?

    thanks,
    Hendra

  24. Niabail Says:

    Thanks, Steve, for bringing us a glimpse into what goes on behind a selected picture!

    Could you share with us what went through your mind when you made the selection on the Sadhu photo?

    Thanks!

    Niabail

  25. great blog and impressive pics. I like this site and i´ll come back

  26. Great article, amazing and powerful photographs.

  27. I should like to read and see more, much more, may be in a second part, anyway thank you for sharing with all us these exemple.

  28. Dear Steve,

    thank you very much for the insight! Very valuable.

    best regards,

    Jos Runarka

  29. Thank you for sharing ideas and aspects of photography – much more important than debates on technical matters of bits and bytes!
    Regards Heike

  30. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for sharing this another important aspect of photography.

    It makes me curious to ask more questions :)

    Regards,
    Pawan

  31. Thank you for sharing your eye, beholder!

  32. Hi Steve,
    Lovely to see more of your images and get a sense of what what it took to get those that have been celebrated. As the debate rages, do you still think film still has a place in your genre of photography? If so, what proportion of your energy is still spend shooting with film? Your photography is inspirational. Keep up the good work. Regards, David

  33. I´ll try comment in my little english. Pick the picture as you remember, as you saw. That is the challenge of editing. The truth will be there.

  34. A great picture is one that you are never fed up getting back to.

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