The Image Review Cycle

Morkel Erasmus Morkel Leave a Comment

I’ve been mulling about this for a while now – especially since I am able to delve up with some regularity images from my archives that surprise me, that make me sit up straight, but that I hadn’t noticed for up to a year after capturing them.

Why is that?

Well, I think the main reason is that we are so emotionally connected to the images. What does a photograph do – if it does its job well? It takes you back to that specific moment in time. For wildlife photographers, it takes you back to that “epic” sighting, or that highly memorable safari as a whole, and nostalgia and memories come flooding back. We love this aspect of our photos for that very reason, at the very least.

But, as stated often by the Wild Eye team on various occasions, the best sightings don’t usually provide the best images.

Great sighting is not necessarily equal to great photographs. When it is, it’s awesome…but when it’s not, it can be a let-down.

The great sighting could have been too far, the light could have been shoddy, we could have made mistakes in our settings or lens choices, other vehicles could have spoiled a proper view for us – the list goes on.

Be that as it may, I want to get to the real musing behind this post – digging up diamonds in the depths of your archives.



Regardless of your own personal Lightroom workflow (have you taken the Lightroom Survey yet??) – most of us go through one to three rounds of “image culling” following a specific shoot/safari. It’s important to do, as we can easily capture copies of photos we know we already have in our portfolios, or we can simply press that shutter down too long at a sighting and end up with hundreds of similar-looking ones and weed out the ones we feel are best. I’ve found that it works for me to cull the obvious blurry, poor composition, etc shots on the back of the camera or upon initial import into Lightroom, but then let it simmer.

Letting the images breathe for a while (a week or four, depending on how busy your life gets once you are back from a trip), allows your emotional connection to some of the particular moments of the trip to subside and even fade into the recesses of your memory. When you look through the images then – you can look with “fresh eyes” as it were, and aim to view them from a more objective platform in terms of photographic merit and value.

Even then – I’ve found myself not too strict and would often keep the images for a longer period. I have been uncovering some images in trips from 2012 and 2013 in the past month that I merely overlooked, for whatever reason. At the very least this post should give you impetus to go back to one of your memorable trips 2-3 years ago and have a look to see if you have perhaps captured something there that you didn’t recognise instantly, but now that your personal style has developed it might speak to you in a new way.


Any excuse to work on our photos in our free time, right?

Give it a try…and please share the “gems” you uncover with us on our Facebook timeline!

Share this Post

About the Author

Morkel Erasmus

Facebook Twitter Google+

Just a regular guy, camera in hand, overcome by the beauty of the African continent, and passionate about sharing this beauty with others!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *