Thank you to everyone who contributed to this wonderful photo sharing community.
I so enjoy seeing each and every photograph immensely and want to mark with a "like" way too many of them, for many different reasons. My challenge as an editor is to be selective and to write constructive comments. I have had a technical learning curve navigating the website, but now I think I have found my rhythm for viewing each image and its description.
How I edit: Foremost I edit for image content, but an added wonderful aspect is being able to take note of the comments, which sometimes give me more insight into the work and satisfies my curiosity. Ultimately it is the personal content added in the description that gives a memorable story to an already compelling image.
After considering the main subject, my process for selections is often based on cropping and framing, then lighting, followed by how the subject’s environment either contributes content or detracts from it and is distracting. I appreciate a context to the subject, which helps me to understand the environment the animals inhabit, as well as to admire a portrait with a minimal background.
Sometimes there are absolutely wonderful subjects, but I opt not to select those because the zoom is too close (this has occurred often in this assignment), with body parts seeming to be arbitrarily cropped out of the photo, such as ears, chins, necks, and parts of legs. I very much appreciate a thoughtful crop of the body.
I do not edit to a formula either. Rules are meant to be broken in art; there is always a wonderful surprise that breaks all accepted standards. I suggest that, if you're zooming in or using a long lens, you change up the framing, shooting verticals as well and varying your crop. Many zoomed, tight horizontal portraits might have been more successful with a vertical approach that came down on the neck and left off the unnecessary information on the horizontal sides. When zooming in, pull back and cover your bases if you have the time.
You can always crop closer, but you can't add an ear. When I shoot, I check my viewfinder edges, since I already see what is in the center. Most of us are shooting digital, so get another, larger, faster memory card. Then, to contradict myself, you can overshoot and miss the moment, a throwback to hunting with film, film had limits.
That said, there are always exceptions, and I do not base my edit selections on any rules. A wonderful photograph shouts out, takes my breath away, and stays with me.