How to Edit Your Own Photography Projects

To ‘edit‘ your project means to select your favorite photos for a certain project. Here are some practical thoughts and tips on editing your own photography projects:

Which photos do you care for?

To ‘curate‘ your photos literally means to select the photos you care for.

When I curate my photos and select the photos this is what goes through my mind:

  1. Which photos do I care for? Which photos evoke strong emotions in me? Which photos spark lovely memories of the past, and which photos do I consider beautiful and artistic?
  2. How can I choose my strongest images, yet still have a variety of different types of images?
  3. How do I balance consistency & variety within a certain photo project?
  4. Which photo projects of the past should I kill (not show photos), and which photos do I still care about?

Time is the ultimate counselor

When I’m putting together my photo projects, what I try to do is this:

Never stop distilling my photos from the past.

For example the photos below are from my ‘Dark Skies Over Tokyo’ project. I shot these photos in Japan from 2011-present, and these are the photos that I still like:

Therefore with your photo projects, a practical tip is this:

Select photo projects you’ve worked in the past, and constantly critique/judge them. Only keep the projects in the past that you still think are strong today!

Tell your own personal story

I spent about a year living in Vietnam (between Hanoi and Saigon), and I grew and evolved a lot as a person.

For myself, my time living in Vietnam was essential to my personal growth:

  1. Spending a long time disconnected; allowing me to think deeply, philosophize about new ideas — which helped contribute to my own personal growth (studying cinema, painting, poetry, and more).
  2. My opportunity to learn more about Cindy’s culture (she is Vietnamese-American)– while also me learning Vietnamese.

Thus my photos are a reflection of my personal experiences in Vietnam. I hope to show my soul through my photos:

Keep it simple

I generally use the Mac in the ‘list view’, and copy and paste my photos over into new folders.

I like to look at my photos as small thumbnails, to quickly judge my images based on my gut.

I try to follow my gut to decide which photos to ‘keep’ or ‘ditch’. It is simple:

If I like the photo, I keep it. If I don’t think it is that strong, I ditch it.

I used to care a lot whether others would like my photos or not, but now — I just curate my own photos for my own enjoyment.

If you need assistance keeping/ditching your photos, upload them to (and also help others keep/ditch their photos).

Should I pre-plan my photography projects, or figure it out as I go?

When working on your own personal photography projects, there are many different ways to approach it:

  1. Come up with a general/broad concept for a photo project, then shoot it, and iterate it as you go.
  2. Just shoot whatever interests you, then categorize them later.
  3. Treat your photography projects constantly in a state of beta-mode (your ARS is always in beta). Which means, treat your photo-projects as a digital-thing; you can constantly remove/add/re-arrange photos in your project.

For example, here are some of my favorite STREET PORTRAITS over the years. I tried to keep the images roughly aesthetically-consistently (all photos shot on RICOH GR II), with 28mm, most with flash, and shot vertically:

Organize your projects for yourself.

I really feel the biggest benefit for organizing your now photography projects is for yourself; for your own benefit:

Organize your photos into projects, and upload them to your own website-portfolio, so you can easily access your favorite photos in the future!

Don’t just keep your photos on Instagram (super-low/shitty resolution). Upload them to your own website/platform, so you can access the full-resolution images down the line.

Don’t build your own kingdom on quicksand; own yourself, and own your images!



If you need assistance editing your own photos, upload them to ARSBETA.COM, the only photography feedback platform.

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