A Quick Q&A On The Importance Of Photo Editing With Sarah Leen

Tuesday, December 14, 6:00-7:00 pm (Mountain Time)

Creativity Continues at Santa Fe Workshops with The Art of Visual Storytelling, a conversation between photo editor Sarah Leen and photographic artist John Paul Caponigro.

Register for this free event now.

Sarah Leen offers many insights into the importance of photo editing.

What are some of the benefits of developing projects?

It is to the photographer’s advantage to work on something they feel passionate about. It can lead to the creation of a body of work that might draw in clients, exhibits or assignments that could support the project. Be the captain of your own fate! 

Are you more satisfied with a single image or a project?

A project can give me a better idea of how the photographer’s mind works, and it shows that they can sustain and accomplish a project from inception to completion. Out of the project comes the single images I like for my walls!

When you’re faced with many possibilities how do you recommend, we choose between possible projects?

What is the work you want to be known for? What is the work that you will do whether you are being paid or not? Follow your bliss and your passion for a project and you won’t go wrong. 

How do you know you’re done?

Great question! Some projects are never done. They continue to evolve into another chapter or form. So, if it is helpful you might need to give yourself some deadlines. Ask yourself is it ready to become a book? An exhibition? A magazine story. This will help you focus your work and give you something to reach for and look forward to. 

How often do you find that projects incorporate more than one form of presentation – website, audio-visual presentation, exhibit, publication, etc.

Often. A project can be, and perhaps should be, many things. There are so many ways to reach your audience and find new audiences for your work that utilizing more of them will help broaden the reach and audience for you work. 

What are your thoughts on how much or how little text to include with photographs?

I like to know what I am looking at. That is the photojournalist in me. But, depending on the platform where the work will live, the information does not always need to be contiguous with the images. So, the information could be at the back of the book or in small text with the image or in the image catalog for the exhibition. Or in a separate document that comes with a print. Obviously, for an editorial use like a magazine or a website more information will be needed, and it would reside with the image.

What kinds of texts work better than others?

For an editorial project, the 5 Ws are key. Who, What, Where, Why and When? For a more artistic production like an exhibit, an art book, or prints, that is probably not necessary. I like to know where an image was taken and when. But that might just be me. 

Do you advise artists to write their own texts or find a writer to write for them?

Really depends on where the work will live. For an editorial publication, they will most likely have their own writer they want to use but there are always exceptions. But for a photobook, I love to hear the photographer’s voice. While an intro or preface or an essay to accompany a book is a great place to bring other voices. 

How often do projects finish exactly the way they were conceived?

Being flexible to chance and serendipity is a good attitude to have. Be open to all possibilities and welcome surprises. That may be where the really good stuff lives. 

How often do you find that one project leads another?

I think the photographers who have been able to sustain a long career are always finding ways to evolve their ideas into the next one. A body of work can have any chapters and iterations. 

What are the most important things that a picture editor brings to a project?

Another set of trusted eyes who can give you honest feedback and encouragement. A shoulder you can cry on or celebrate with. Someone to brainstorm with and who brings an often-needed skill set to the table just when you need it. 

Is picture editing a talent you’re born with or skill that can be learned?

Good question. I don’t know. Starting out as a photographer taught me how to edit first my own work and then others. As a photographer, you are editing every time you make an image. You have made many choices as to where to photograph, what to photograph, what is inside or outside the frame. So, it can be a natural progression to continue that process when looking at the images after they are made. What to keep and elevate and what to let go. 

How have your picture editing skills helped advance your own photography?

As per above being a photographer first advanced my photo editing skills for sure.

What personal benefits do you receive from teaching?

Oh, so much personal satisfaction when a photographer succeeds, when they have learned a new skill and the light bulbs are coming on over their heads. And when they are inspired with new ideas and new motivation for their work. It is totally like being a mother with a child in a talent show. I am totally invested in their success. Their success is my success. 

Find out more about Sarah Leen here.

Register for our free webinar now.


Peace – One Conversation At A Time | Rick Allred – TEDxABQ

Find out more about photographer Rick Allred here.
The United States (and the rest of our world) needs this message – now more than ever.
“Fear tends to stop people from pursuing their passions, even the smallest passion. What if, the way past that little voice in a person’s head saying, “Play it safe!” was just to have the next conversation with someone? What new possibilities for adventure would open up? This is what happened when Rick Allred read one book that inspired one project to take one million paper cranes to the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. Find a passion. Talk to strangers. Create an adventure. Rick Allred, a graduate of New Mexico State University, is committed to people pursuing their passions. Allred’s passion for photography started back in 1986. He currently teaches photography workshops at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and classes at craftsy.com. He is passionate about growing as a human being and encourages others to explore and discover their humanity as a means to creating a life they love. His explorations have taken him from tracking navigation satellites in Thule, Greenland, to photographer specialist at the Space Center in Alamogordo, New Mexico, to head of the photography department at the Hui No’Eau Visual Art Center in Maui, Hawaii, and back to Santa Fe, while pursuing an MFA in photography in Maine. Allred finds that the beginning of adventure starts with that first step. In 2017, he took that first step by creating “In the Folds of Peace,” a project to start conversations and take one million paper cranes to Hiroshima, Japan.”

Adventures In Ice – Webinar


If you missed it the recording can now be viewed above.

The Camden Conference and Camden Public Library host internationally renowned photographer John Paul Caponigro, who will share his images from six voyages to Greenland and contrasts them with twelve voyages to Antarctica including his personal adventure stories, conversations with scientists, and facts about the region.

Live via Zoom on September 15 at 6:30 pm.

Find out more about Camden Conference here.

9 Ways To Bring More Joy To Your Photography


My wife and business partner Arduina’s enthusiasm is intoxicating.

So I asked her to share a little of it with you.

Here are her 9 Ways To Bring More Joy To Your Photography.

1. PLAY!

Give yourself the gift of playtime. Try new things without judgement. Make a portrait of your neighbor, or your neighbors peacocks. Make a self portrait holding your most prized possession. Arrange a still life from your junk drawer. Try abstraction. Go underwater or book yourself a hot air ballon and try areal photography. Ask a friend to drive you around. My husband will sweetly slow the car down to help me make an image of a fox in a field or a goat on the roof of a shed. Try motion blur, long exposers  or double exposures. Shoot with different lenses and cameras; try a 400mm lens with a doubler or a macro; play with plastic lenses or a Holga; or use a scanner as your camera. In order to get the most joy from playtime all you have to do you have to make time for play. I think of it as a healthy form of self care – if you can spend an hour on a treadmill you can spare a few minutes to photograph your favorite tree.

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2. Experience A Different Time Of Day

Be amazed by magic light! Drag your sleepy head out of bed and watch as the dawn moves across your windows or play in the dappled light under a canopy of trees at mid day.

3. See What Your Eyes Can’t

Get yourself  a tripod and shoot after dark. You could even use an intervalometer  to make a time-lapse of yourself while you sleep and you may solve the mystery of who has been stealing the covers.

4. Explore

Wander about and  catch yourself in a smile. Notice what you notice and make a record of what resonates. Photographer Keith Carter says, “Time spent in reconnoissance is never time wasted.”  Time enjoyed is never wasted, whether you make a picture right then or return later with a wagon full of birdcages and clocks.

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5. Be Inspired By Your Favorite Song Writer Or Poet

Pay homage to the song that got you through a bad break up or spend some time with  Mary Oliver as she tirelessly guides you through the natural world.

6. Put Yourself In Someone Else’s Shoes

Try on a different point of view. Find happiness in shooting a scene while lying on your belly or standing on your tippy toes with your arms stretched up overhead. Any advice involving shoes makes me happy …

7. Lighten Up

Ditch your inner critic. Just because Edward Weston made an Iconic picture of a bell pepper doesn’t mean that you can never photograph a pepper. Just make pictures. In fact the one most people think of is entitled “Pepper No. 30”  but he must have had an amazing time playing with creepy pepper #14.

8. Learn To Composite

So what if that cloud was in San Francisco and that ocean is in Maine ? Perhaps they would like to meet in a photograph?

9. Make A Print

Hold the joy you have experienced in your hands! Put it on your wall. Glue it in a book. Or mail it to your mother-in-law to thank her for loving you. I make my prints on an Epson printer – and I am deeply in love with that part of my process – but a print in any form (Cibachrome, cyanotype, or collodion) anything with three-dimensions is joyful to me!

View Ardie’s photographs on Instagram.

Visit Ardie’s website.
Inquire about one-on-one online training here.
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