Before Photoshop: Editing in the lens

Notes from Casey Holder, The Shorthorn’s Spring 2013 Presentation Managing Editor (This is the first of several posts with tips as we go into the spring semester.)

The responsibilities of an image producer:


  • Your images must enhance the STORY.
  • Images must tell a story.
  • Look for the moment.
  • Supplement a story’s impact.


  • It is your job is to guide and help your audience perceive the world in a new way.
  • You must take on this responsibility using as your guidance a strong ethical and moral compass.
  • Skill alone is not enough – you must bring to your work a genuine concern and respect for your audience.
  • Once you become aware of the power of the media you will be less inclined to be blindly persuaded by what you witness on the page and screen.

SELECTIVE SEEING: You must direct the reader’s eye.

  • If you don’t give the viewers something to look at they will look at what they want to look at.
  • A wide photo needs to have an anchor, something in the image that grabs your eyes and leads you into the rest of the image and that you can keep returning to. If not, then the viewer is just looking at a snapshot and his eyes go wherever. It is not a successful image if the viewer doesn’t know exactly where to look.
  • Good images direct the viewer’s eyes.


  • How you frame an image impacts how and what a viewer see.
  • Pre-mature closure: when your brain finishes your image before it should.


  • Telephoto lens compresses space.
  • Wide angle de-compresses space.
  • Must be as objective as possible.


  • Rule of thirds means everything.

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