Daily Prompt Photograph Elements Rating Photos

Connect the Dots

Daily Prompt: Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

Photograph Elements 11 Classroom in a Book, Page 82 Third sentence “At the start of this lesson you learned how to apply ratings to your photos.”


I’m the sort of person who loves to take pictures.  But it’s not particularly the images I want but the stories that evolve inside my head about the images.  So, sure, when I’m being a tourist I do the typical touristy snapshots of various famous building and landmarks.  But the shots that fascinate me the most are the ones where I can look under, behind, down, and up at things, playing around with light and shadows and odd relationships.

Lately I haven’t done much photography because it’s so freezing cold and icy outside.  But when the weather is warm enough, I’ll work a log or rock or pond, gazing and squatting and walking around, playing around with close-ups and framing, or just staring with an empty mind.  I can put my mind into the world of that log or rock, and then I’ll see the tiny algae flowers or a bug walking across, and I’ll be reminded that we’re not the only ones living in this world.  The very tininess of some life doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it exists in the very same plane and moment, breathing the same air as us.  And the camera has a whole personality to itself.  Its eye teaches me so much more about what’s happening in the world about me.

This is very different from newspaper photography, which is frenetic to me.  It’s fun, but it’s work (the whole introversion thing makes it stressful but the kids are fun), and so I’ve been refusing assignments for the past year.  I usually come out of an assignment with 400 pictures to sort through and then my final submissions need to be made by the next day, so in a couple of hours I need to sort through all 400 pictures, crop and do adjustments.  That’s in addition to matching pictures with captions.  Every picture I submit needs to have captions, so if I take a photo of someone and forget to get their name, the photo is useless.  Picture this.  A photographer with a camera vest, and notebooks and pens tied to her vest.  In the notebooks are mad scribbles, barely legible, with photo numbers and a list of every single person in the photo, including any prominent people who show up in the background.  And then there are the gems who come to me and tell me they don’t want their picture in the paper so I have to find every single picture that includes them and nix it.  Even though legally they can’t refuse to have their picture published, I will honor it if at all possible.

Maybe someday when I’m completely pain-free and willing to get more involved with society I’ll get back to doing some work for the paper.  Right now I love not having that adrenaline-spiking pressure.

Another difference between newspaper and free photography is that my newspaper photos need to be organized.  Anything that’s shot for the newspaper becomes part of the history of the town, so it’s important.  All of my newspaper photos are processed with Photoshop Lightroom and not Elements.

My free photos don’t need to be organized so I dump them into Photoshop Elements and put no work into sorting them.  Result:  millions of random shots of millions of things crammed into folders with random names.  It’s not a pretty picture.

I’m reading Photograph Elements 11 Classroom in a Book because I made collages using Elements a few years back that I absolutely loved.  They were collages of a family Bar Mitzvah.  I spend weeks pouring through the pictures and putting them together.  I came out with three whimsical collages that I loved.  I never got any acknowledgement for them so I don’t think the people I did it for liked them so much, or maybe it broke some sort of religious thing.  In any case, I loved the process of doing them even though from a gift point of view it was a waste of time.  Maybe they were too amateurish.  These people are very wealthy and probably had professional photographers making seriously nice collages for them.

Now that I’m retired, I’d love to play around with doing more artsy things with my photos.  I’m really interested in the aesthetics of the art, not the technical perfection of the photos — sort of the equivalent of staring at the rock except staring at my photo and seeing what other things I can do with it.

Every day I do a little bit of Photograph Elements 11 Classroom in a Book.  The first three chapters go into great depth on how to tag, sort, and rate photos. When I read “At the start of this lesson you learned how to apply ratings to your photos.” I thought “Well, yeh, I sort of learned it, are we at color processing yet?”

Daily Prompt Photograph Elements Rating Photos

7 thoughts on “Daily Prompt Photograph Elements Rating Photos

  1. As a newspaper photographer, I had a different system (400 photos are way too many unless you’re covering a catastrophe or major news events!). I’d go with the flow of the scene and take a conservative number of shots with the intent that any one of them could be used.

    Instead of shooting hog-wild, I made each shot count. Did that mean each shot was useable? Not by a long shot! (haha, that was a freebie!) By giving thought to every shot, mindfulness is maintained, for me. Discipline too. Plus it’s efficient. Who has time or desire to sift through hundreds of photos, especially on deadline?

    Also, in shooting conservatively, recording names becomes much simpler than that of hundreds of names, who doesn’t wanna be published, etc. etc. Since I was a one-man team of writer and photographer, being organized was integral to the work. Granted, I’m a master of organization and efficiency so that wasn’t hard. What was key was being organized and STAYING organized with all the notes, tape recordings, photos. 400. Ugh. Way too many.

    Minimize. Focus. (Meaning with your mind, not camera, though there’s that too. :) ) Get the shots that count. Don’t waste time and energy on throwaways. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify. Organize. Stay organized. Otherwise you’ll drown in a sea of crap photos that’ll become the next person’s problem to fix once you’re gone. And odds are that fix may be “delete all.”

    P.S. Along parallel topic, have you ever sat through the average person’s vacation pics online or in person? Chinese torture! Usually 98% are throwaways! Plus booorring! :) Do YOU wanna be that person with your stacks of unorganized pix ? ;) ;)


    1. Haha, no I don’t want to be that person :). The photographer that I work for is like you. She’ll take maybe 3 pictures at an event, and all 3 will be perfect. I don’t have that self-confidence with my abilities.


      1. Ah, makes sense. The way to build confidence is practice. My suggestion o you is to go out on those walks into nature you do with this exercise of taking a small number of pix, say 5 or 10. You begin to change your way of thinking and SEEING when every picture counts. You begin to learn, perhaps even in time discern, what makes a good photo (and likewise what’s a throwaway even before a shutter snaps). Sometimes what seems like a self-imposed straitjacket (i.e., 5 or 10 pixs per walk) is no straitjacket at all, rather a practice of discipline, mindfulness and growth.


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