Home -> Business of Photography: Photojournalism and Self-publishing -> Editing Tips for Photo and Video Presentations
Editing Tips for Photo and Video Presentations
by Gert Wagner
All Text & Images: © 2012 Gert Wagner. All Rights Reserved.
How you edit photos
or film will have a direct affect on the flow, impact and
power of a story, whether it’s for family and friends,
business partners, within a magazine article, or for a
potential client. Next to the quality of the images taken,
the editing process is crucial in order to grab and hold the
attention of the viewer during photo or video presentations.
We’ll begin with
photos, where one may presume that the editing of an image
is of minor importance. That is far from the truth.
For instance, when creating a story in a magazine, the
editing of those images is going to play a vital role.
You’ll want to show only your very best. As an
example, any distracting elements on the edge of the image
frame is going to pull the viewers attention away from the
subject, so you’ll want to edit out (crop out) those
distractions. Then add some cunning script and it will make
all the difference in the viewer’s acceptance of a
The First &
The very first photo is the "opening scene" to the story and
its prime goal is to stir the readers’ interest.
That’s why photographers and editors alike put everything
into making it a powerful image. From the very
beginning, those first photos need to be the most
fascinating. Other important pictures covering the
story are then often spread over double pages of a print
magazine, or throughout an online article for optimum
impact, but that doesn’t mean that they too aren’t edited.
All images should be edited so one is presenting quality
throughout the story. Later, less spectacular edited
photos may be shown, but they can convey important details
and additional information to complete the entire
VIDEO AND FILM
Similar rules are
going to apply for photo video or film presentations.
You’ll want to grab you viewer’s attention right from the
start in order to carry them throughout the entire
In the film
business, editing is half the battle when it comes to
attracting an audience. In a commercial, the very
first seconds count. In a feature film, the first
minutes either attract or distract the audience for a long
stretch of the story.
basic principles when editing a simple video sequence, as
shown in these six scenes on horseback riding.
Introduces the story with an
Provides an overall perspective to the story - scene from
as a stark contrast to the preceding long view, with
close-up impressions that create tension.
scene with only 40% transparency for reflections in the
water of the preceding clip.
Creates a surprising viewing experience by showing a view
from the rider’s position.
the camera very close to the riders and by showing the sun
close to setting at the end of the day, it provides a
sensible conclusion as they exit the image frame.
This sequence is
simple and yet it contains a
important basic elements
that make for a good narrative.
Wagner on Vimeo
With the opening
shot, the viewer is immediately drawn into the action.
Following that attention grabber, the long view is putting
emphasis on space relative to the detail, thus creating the
atmosphere for the story.
The stark contrast in the next scene creates tension, while
the blended-in seagulls adds more ambience..
reflections of seagulls in the water are added with a second
layer clip put over the other scene, flipped upside down as
in a real reflection, and reduced to 40% transparency on the
timeline of an editing program.
When looking for
unusual viewing angles, the rider’s position seemed
appropriate. However, having a healthy respect for horses,
I asked the rider to hold a small consumer camera while
galloping through the splashing water. While a hand-held
camera on a horse will likely turn out on the shakier side,
it delivers a sense of immediacy and action. A very steady
shot would actually take away from the experience of riding
a horse. Mind you: all galloping scenes move logically from
left to right. However, the original shots were not
necessarily taken in the same order and direction and thus
had to be flipped around accordingly in post production for
a more harmonious flow of scenes.
The art of
storytelling corresponds with the art of editing. And
remember, those seemingly unimportant shots may well serve
as useful supplements when mixed with the greater shots.
They can deliver more detailed information or just some
additional atmospheric impressions. In this case, the
reflection of the horse’s legs and the seagulls in the water
are good examples of the usefulness of those minor shots.
Now it’s your turn to try your hand at creating a
story presentation with impact - one that flows well and keeps your viewer’s
See more of
All Text & Images: © 2012 Gert Wagner. All Rights
Gert Wagner is a photographer and movie director
living in Northern Germany. He has photographed for leading
magazines and for international corporations. Many of his
pictures have been published worldwide, and he has received
numerous awards. Today, he produces documentary and corporate
films as cameraman and director.
PHOTOGRAPHIC CHALLENGES is an ebook at the
Apple Bookstore for the iPad and iPhone, selling at $ 8.99 in
Learn more about photo publishing:
Tips for a Career in Photojournalism
How to Create a Photo Essay
“Lookin’ Back”: My Top 10 Photojournalist Tips
to Getting Published Online