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Think Like a Photo Editor

Lesson 4 of 7

Storytelling in the Field

Jared Platt

Think Like a Photo Editor

Jared Platt

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Lesson Info

4. Storytelling in the Field

Lesson Info

Storytelling in the Field

How many of you shoot like weddings or jobs or portraits or something like that? Anybody? Okay, so those of you who are shooting a wedding, you shoot 3000, 4000 images on a wedding, and that's great. The question is, how many do you show? And that's what we really need to talk about today because most people are showing way too many images. So, if we are out collecting images, whether it's documentary, travel, portraits, weddings, doesn't matter what we're shooting, if we're out collecting images, collect as many as you can, and collect them in the best way possible. Think like an editor while you're doing it, though. So, make sure that, when you're looking for photographs, that you're looking for them in a way where you're telling stories. Like, for instance, here we're telling a story of someone giving a really important gift to the mom, and you get the surprise. You've got to think about the stories themselves, but you also need to think about place and where you are. So, as you're ...

photographing, you need to think, okay, I'm photographing like, for instance, here we're photographing a walk. So, we photograph down at the bottom of the cliff. We photograph the overall cliff and the water itself. We photograph them walking along the edge of the cliff. We photograph the lighthouses. We photograph big, overarching shots of clouds and landscape, and then we show the cliff with the lighthouse at the bottom. And then we get the minute details of the flowers, but we're thinking on a scale of large and small, moments and portraits. So, we're looking to try and describe the whole thing. So, you gotta, while you're photographing and thinking like an editor in the field, you have to be thinking, what pieces of the story do I need to tell? And make sure that you're getting plenty of long shots. And think about it like a movie. Every time you start a movie, say in New York City, what happens? You get a flyover of New York City, that's the first thing. Because they gotta show you, I'm in New York City. So, they show you a wide shot of New York City, or they show you the Statue of Liberty, or they show you something like that. And then they do the mid-shot, which takes you down to the street level where you are. So, you're in SoHo or you're wherever. And then it cuts to the close, where you're talking to someone, or someone's walking, or they've lost something. Now we're up on the character. So, we're always thinking in wide establishment shots. We're thinking in mid-shots to show where we are and what the interactions are of the characters. And then we show the closeups of the conversations, the details of what they're doing, fumbling with their keys, et cetera. So, always think those three different types of shots, and there's more but think of those three as you're photographing. What do I need to get to establish where we are and what we're doing. Then, how do I establish the relationships, getting closer on them. And then, how do I establish the details that really liven up the story, like the flowers or the whatever, holding hands, and things like that. Okay, so we have to think like an editor in the field so that we have all those photographs. And you can photograph as many as you want while you're out there. But, once you get into Lightroom and you start looking at your images, so like, for instance here. This is Neuschwanstein Castle. I was in Europe this year, and this is, you go across this bridge, and you're over this gorge, and this is what you see. There's a castle, and, most of the time, you see pictures of it, and it's really a bright sunny day, and it looks like Cinderella's castle and all that kind of stuff. But, I was fortunate enough to be there when it looked spooky. So I was super excited about it, so what did I do? I spent a long time photographing that, watching the clouds move around. And, remember, now I'm not only looking at wide shots and different compositions of it, but I'm also looking at the composition that's created by clouds. So, as the fog moves around, it changes the overall composition, shows me what, I see some things, I don't see other things, so, I'm looking around. But, once I get back to Lightroom, now I need to start selecting, and I need to think like an editor.

Class Description


  • Expertly edit a photograph
  • Enhance your photography portfolio
  • Think like a photo editor while capturing images


In this class, you’ll learn how to improve your photography portfolio. With just a few critical lessons, you will be on your way to making better decisions in your photography and post-production that will not only enhance the value of your portfolio of images but every photo story you tell, every job you shoot and every family vacation you share, all you need is a shift in your thinking.

The best photographers know the importance of great photo editing. In fact, the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer has less to do with camera skills and more to do with their selects (i.e. what they show). The very best show very little and the unimpressive photographer can’t wait to show you every image they took today. All of the greatest photographers either have a photo editor making the decisions or are great photo editors themselves. Learning how to think like a photo editor from the camera through the selection, editing and publishing process will change your photography forever.


  • All levels of photographers
  • Photographers who want to better their post-processing skills
  • Photographers looking to create a portfolio


Adobe Photoshop CC 2019, Adobe Lightroom CC 2019


Jared Platt is a professional wedding and lifestyle photographer from Phoenix, Arizona. Jared holds a Masters of Fine Arts in the Photographic Studies and a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography from Arizona State University and has been a professional photographer and college educator for the past 12 years and has been a speaking, debating and lecturing for the past 17 years. His attention to detail and craft make him a demanding photography instructor. Jared has lectured at major trade shows and photo conferences as well as at universities around the world on the subject of photography as well as workflow. Currently, Jared is traveling the United States and Canada teaching and lecturing on photography and post production workflow.

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