Sorting through and editing images while traveling, in order to create blog posts, is a fast, furious and often “messy” process, given the fact that there’s such limited time to work with. From my days working as a stringer for newspapers in Southern California, I’ve learned to be somewhat “brutal” in my selection of photos for blog posts. This brutality speeds up the editing process but leaves some fairly decent images “on the cutting room floor”.

Years ago, while cutting my teeth as freelance newspaper photographer, I recall coming back to the newsroom with dozens of what I thought were good images, only to have them sliced and diced by the editor. Humbling and painful as it was to see my hard earned images reduced to one or two, it did help me realize my mistakes and pushed me to improve my craft. Now as I self edit, I attempt to undertake the task of editing my photos, just as most newspapers photo editors do, with a no-holds barred approach.

So, here’s a simplified version of my editing process….my first pass on a day’s worth of images, is always aimed at eliminating any and all photos that have technical errors or elements that make them “less than perfect”, I’ll call this, “taking out the trash”.

My second pass is to find the strongest images, ones, similar to the photo that might make the front page of a newspaper. These “winners” need little or no explanation to be understood or appreciated and can stand alone in their ability to “tell the story” and they are impactful enough that a viewer will stop and look.

Once I have selected my lead image for the day’s post, my third pass is to identify “supporting images”. These are images that help tell the story but perhaps don’t have the strength or visual impact to stand alone.

From these three steps, a blog post is created and uploaded. Then, later when I have an opportunity, I take some time to go back and look through what ended up on the “cutting room floor”. During this reevaluation, I often find images that are useful for multi-page spreads, or alongside text and other photos, that as a body of work, can be enjoyed and appreciated.

So, here’s a selection of images that ended up on the cutting room floor over the last few months, some were shot in Cambodia, others in Myanmar. None of these images made the first, second or third cut, but in my opinion they are worth keeping.

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, just days before King Norodom Sihanouk’s cremation

Torture room, Tuol Sleng prision, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sculls displayed at Choeung Ek (the killing fields), outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Chum Mey, one of the two remaining survivors of the Khmer Rouge’s notorious
Tuol Sleng torture prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cyclo driver amid traffic, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Mother and children in traffic, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Local traffic near the 12th century Kampong Kdei Bridge, Doeumpor Village, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia

Child holding Tarantula, Skoun town, Kompong Cham province, Cambodia

Brooms for sale, Nyaung Shwe, Myanmar 

Teashop, Nyaung Shwe, Myanmar

Shwe Yawnghwe Monastery, Myanmar

Shwe Yawnghwe Monastery, Myanmar

Shwedegon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

Mya Theindan Pagoda, Myanmar

Bagan, Myanmar

Canon 16-35 at 16mm


8 Responses to “From The Cutting Room Floor” Subscribe

  1. Jacob James March 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    I love looking back through my images and finding ones that may not have made the cut first time. Occasionally I come across images that perhaps should have made the first edit! Loving the recent work Karl and the last image in this post is great!

  2. Paurav March 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Great pictures! amazing!

  3. Kim March 22, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    I’d be thrilled to see any of those images in the back of my camera, especially the last one!

  4. Ursula March 22, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Definitely keepers!

    Its nice to see Mr Chum Mey looking so well. 🙂

  5. Lisa March 24, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Thanks for taking us through your editing process. Mine has evolved over the years a I strove to find the balance between efficiency and learning/reflection/mindfulness. Sometimes it’s good not to rush. and finding hidden gems is a bonus. Yours are spectacular!

  6. Catherine Wisner March 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Thanks Karl, this is really helpful..there are many times I try to imagine you standing behind me and thinking what you would say was a keeper or ‘C**P’.

  7. Ian Mylam March 28, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    There are some strong images on your cutting-room floor, Karl! Particular favourites are ‘Brooms for Sale’, the teashop images, Shwe Yawnghwe Monastery with the cat, and also the image from the same place with the young monk with his eyes cast downwards, and the very last image of the monk surrounded by candles.

  8. Karl Grobl March 29, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    Thanks Ian, I appreciate your comments!

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