Editing slides is one of the most satisfying tasks for a photographer, because that's when you get to see the fruits of your efforts in the field. But it can also be a tedious and painful experience as you sort out the junk and fill up the trash can. Either way, it's a necessary part of the photography routine. (Digital photographers are not immune to this tedium they work in a different medium, but editing is still editing, whether done on a light board or computer monitor.)
Here's my workflow when I edit slides:
1) The naked-eye edit
I lay out the slides on the light board. With a roll of slides before me, I quickly scan my eyes over the whole batch. I look for bad exposures (and failed bracketed frames), images with too much contrast, photos noticeably out of focus, and misfires (fuzzy shots of my pants leg, the ground, etc.). I pick out any obviously bad photos and drop them in the trash can.
2) The loupe edit
Using a good loupe (spend the money on a decent one make sure it's clear and that you don't get nauseous after looking through it for a while), I closely examine each slide. I look for fuzzy focus, dark shadows or blown-out highlights.
Be merciless. If the photo is not good enough to show a client, if it's not good enough for me to spend time labeling and filing, then it belongs in the trash can. I keep A- and B-grade photos only. Sometimes I'll keep a C, but rarely. Ds and Fs go in the oval file (my trash can's not round).
Filling a trash can with rejected slides is not a sign of a bad shoot; rather, it's indicative of a good edit.
After I edit the slides, I'll be entering information about them in a database on my computer. To make that task easier, while the slides are still on the light board, I group them by category, orientation (horizontal versus vertical), exposure (mostly for sunsets are they more red, or orange, or yellow?) and subject.
They then go into archival slide pages and await labels. (Read about how I file photos.)
Editing a roll of slides takes me about five minutes, so I can usually get through a day's worth of film in under an hour.
© 2002 - 2008 Chris Nicholson