A photo of Iceland
Post-processing and Printing Tips

Finalizing Your Photographs: The Crucial Step Often Overlooked

A photo of Iceland

In the adrenaline rush of a successful landscape photography trip, it’s all too easy to celebrate prematurely. The excitement of seeing the bounty of images you’ve captured can be intoxicating. You might even be tempted to think that you’ve reached the finish line. But in reality, the journey toward the creation of a masterpiece has only just begun.

Crossing the Finish Line: When Can You Truly Call it Done?

When can you, a landscape photographer, truly consider your job done? The answer lies not in the raw images captured but in the final polished photographs ready for publishing. This end goal involves several key stages:

  1. Selection of your favorite photos.
  2. Completion of the post-processing.
  3. Exportation of images in different versions: one suitable for print, one for web usage, and a source file which is the raw file inclusive of all adjustments in full resolution.
  4. Organization of your library for easy searchability and future reference.

Only after the completion of these steps can you call your photo shoot a wrap.

The Trap of Complacency: A Personal Anecdote

As a landscape photographer, I have often fallen into the trap of complacency. During my photo shoots, I reveled in the joy of capturing the breathtaking beauty of nature. I’d return home, import the photos into my Lightroom catalog, label them, and if particularly moved by a few, hastily process them. Then, I’d go back to my routine, postponing the further refining of my images.

This laid-back approach might seem harmless initially. But it came back to haunt me when I had to select 20 images for a gallery. It was a Herculean task that took two weeks, and I knew I could have selected better shots if I had completed the process of finalizing my images earlier.

In another instance, I had a month-long trip to Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, a few years ago. My routine of procrastinating the finalization of my images came back to bite me when I had a week to send a maximum of 5 photos to a music production company. The daunting task of post-processing a library of 545 images was a wake-up call.

Procrastination may seem tempting, but in the end, it only adds to your stress and robs you of the joy of creating beautiful images.

The Importance of Timeliness: A Lesson Learned

Through my experiences, I have learned the value of adhering to a self-imposed timetable. It ensures that your photos are ready for use, whether it’s a year or a decade down the line. You could argue that you might revisit your old images years later and process them differently. But, what we’re discussing here is the crucial step of finalizing your photo-shoot so that you have a collection of print-ready images.

Not only does this habit keep you organized, but it also helps in honing your skills. Assessing your work soon after its capture enables you to train your eyes and skills for the future.

In addition to the steps mentioned above, I have incorporated one more into my workflow. I print every photo at home and hang it on my wall. This allows me to scrutinize it daily for at least a week, which helps in refining my post-processing of the source image.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does it mean to finalize a photograph?
    Finalizing a photograph involves selecting your best shots, post-processing them, exporting them in different versions for print and web usage and organizing your library for easy accessibility.
  2. Why is finalizing photographs important?
    Finalizing photographs ensures that they are ready for publishing at any given time. This step is also crucial in refining your skills as you assess your work closely.
  3. Can I revisit and reprocess my old images?
    Yes, you can always revisit and reprocess your old images. However, the initial process of finalizing your images post-shoot is crucial for having a collection of ready-to-publish photographs.


Finalizing your photographs is a crucial, yet often overlooked, step in the process of creating stunning images. Beyond the immediate satisfaction of a job well done, it trains your eye, sharpens your skills, and prepares you for future opportunities. Remember, a photo shoot isn’t truly complete until your images are ready to be admired by the world.