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Masters of Photography

Lesson 24 of 25

Editing, Printing, and The Book

Steve McCurry

Masters of Photography

Steve McCurry

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Lesson Info

24. Editing, Printing, and The Book

Lesson Info

Editing, Printing, and The Book

(light music) The selection process, when I come back from photographing, whether it's outside in my neighborhood or another country, is very important. I go through my pictures, and I'm looking for, if I've made a portrait of somebody, or work on the street, I'm going through these hundreds of pictures, and trying to find the ones that I think tell the best story, which are the ones that I think are the successful images. And you don't wanna just shoot, if you're making a portrait, one exposure, or two exposures. I mean, sometimes that is all you have time for, but if you do have time, it's good to try different options, different framing, different moments. People's expressions change. You wanna sort of capture the nuance of how their face changes expression. So, in the selection process, you wanna go through all of your work that you made for that day, and find the pictures that you think tell the best story, the story that you're trying to tell. Sometimes, the situation is fluid.

There's people, there's landscape, there's things happening, swirling around. And when you go through the selection process, you wanna try and find that one situation where all the elements inside the landscape come together in a pleasing composition, or at least the composition that you feel tells the story that you're trying to say. The selection process isn't simply just looking at your work once, or even twice. Sometimes, you need to go over your body of work from a shoot, from a day's work, and you may go over it several times. You want to look at it maybe the first time, you might wanna come back to it some days or weeks later, look at it with fresh eyes. You might wanna come back and look at it in five or 10 years, when styles change, and you may start to see things in your photographs that you didn't originally see. That's also a great thing. (light music) After the selection process, and you've found the pictures you think are the most successful, I think I would really encourage you to make a print of your most important work. Otherwise, in a way, the picture doesn't really exist. It exits in a hard drive, or on your laptop, or in your memory card, but I don't think that's where you want to have your photography entrusted to. I think you want to actually print it out on a piece of paper, and have that for posterity. I mean hard drives go bad, memory cards degrade. So I would encourage you to go through your best work, print it, put it in a box, and then you'll have those pictures forever. You won't have to worry about hard drives, and computers, and all that. What I'm looking for when I look at my prints, I wanna make sure that they're obvious things, like they're not too light, they're not too dark, the color is realistic, the picture reflects the way I saw the theme when I photographed it. I don't think the print should... I think the print should be natural. I think it should reflect what I saw when I was making the picture. You don't want the print itself to draw too much attention to itself because of some technique, or some high-dynamic range nonsense. I think you want it to be real, you want it to reflect what you saw when you're actually making the picture. You want the story to be the most important thing of the print, not the print itself. The print itself should just support your story, and what you were trying to say in the picture. But the print shouldn't be somehow unnatural. It should be natural, authentic, and really reflect what you saw when you were making the picture. (light music) if you have a body of work that you've developed over time, whether it's landscapes or portraits, or a place, or your family, I would encourage you to think about putting this work together in the form of a book. You can go through the selection process. You can kind of see what's working, what's not working. You might wanna go back and re-shoot things, or find things. But I think you might wanna think about putting all of this work into a book, and it's a nice way to go through, refine, and come up with something which you could be very proud of, give to your friends, family. But I think lots of people can self-publish their own work, and make a great book. I would really encourage you to think along those lines. You'll wanna sequence the pictures in the book that makes sense, that creates a sort of a harmony or a rhythm. Pictures that perhaps work together, or play off of each other. Perhaps there's some interesting juxtaposition between pictures. I think this is something which you'll probably go over and over again, maybe dozens of times, to find the right solution. You may wanna show this selection to friends, or family, or colleagues, and to see what the rhythm, what the sequence, what is working the best for your body of work.

Class Description

Steve McCurry has been one of the most important voices in contemporary photography for more than thirty years. Masters of Photography is bringing Steve’s class to CreativeLive to share the learnings from his iconic career. Steve will teach how to:

  • Find a subject to photograph
  • How to shoot in all types of weather condition
  • Understand the light at different times of day
  • Improve your compositional skills
  • Blend into the environment so that you can capture impactful street images
  • Use his 8 key tips in order to capture the best portraits

Watch and learn with Steve as you accompany him through the fishing villages of Portugal and in the vibrant streets of Havana. See for yourself how he creates images, as he shares ideas and experiences, and explains how to make great photographs. Steve will also suggest some projects for you to try for yourself.

You can use any device from camera phone to’s all about the image and storytelling.

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Adriana L-G

For me this is not a class, is more the photographer talking about his photos and his experience. It is a little repetitive but I enjoyed. From Masters of Photography I loved Joel Meyerowitz's class and I recommend it strongly. In case you need to choose.