Project: Editing

This project required using a set of recently shot images, numbering at least 50 and following a rigorous process to whittle them down to just 2. I had recently visited Rome and had collected an extensive portfolio. It is a city with an extensive collection of statues and fountains, so I chose the fountains as a suitable subject for the exercise.

For the process of successive elimination, I used the organiser built into Photoshop Elements. This allows you not only to tag images appropriately but to give them from one to five stars.

I started with 98 images and the first step was to elimiate the technically flawed ones For the most part these were easily edited out, they were poorly exposed, some had motion blur and a few were out of focus. These were given one star everything else was given two stars.This left me with 81.

Next I attempted a creative elimination. Where I had a number of similar pictures I selected the one that for me had the greatest impact. There were some that, although technically okay, just did not work for the composition or for some other reason. The eliminated ones kept their two stars, everything else was given three stars. These were the selects as described in the course materials and there were 25 of them.


Up until this point I had not attempted to make any corrections to the images in Photoshop. If I was going to make more detailed comparisons between them, now was the time to make any corrections so the comparisons would be as fair as possible. With the Photoshopped images, I allowed myself to grade them from 3 star to 5 star, this is more than the course suggests (first or second selects); 5 stars would be exceptional.

In the event, I did not give any 5 stars but ended up with 10 on 4 stars from which I would make the final selection.


I was only allowed 2 final images. I would have liked more but the notes were quite specific. These were the final two:





I like the juxtaposition of the church in the background with the fountain and the idea that there is a physical cleansing with the water whilst the church is for spiritual cleansing.




This isn’t the sharpest or cleanest image, but I like the way the light is playing in the water, an effect which is heightened by the darkness of the building behind. I had another image like this with a faster shutter speed so the water was better defined, I chose this one because of the presence of the figure in front of the fountain. It gives scale to the picture but enhances the sense of contrast with the rim lighting on his left hand side.

It’s easy to identify technical errors and make eliminations based on that but I always find it hard to make creative decisions. The process gets harder as more photos get eliminated; you are continually being left with better picture to choose between. At the final selection I would normally try to sneak a few extra in but the brief was quite specific in this instance – only two! Having said all that, I was pleased with the two I came out of the process with.

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