Editing Down The Fireground


Deciding how to put your best images forward


Editing down is the toughest thing for any photographer to do, whether it is fire photography or sports photography. Do you really need doubles and triples of the same photos? If you’re submitting work to the photo editor at the paper, you would only submit about 15 to 30 images.  The answer when you ask a lot of people is you're only showing your best work.

How does one photo tell a story while still synching with the next image?  Are you covering all your bases when shooting a job?  If you have fire in the window and you see a firefighter the window calling for a line, that is your money shot. 

Standing in one spot will do you no good as you're missing out on all the action on another side of the building.  The worse feeling is when you're on Side 1 and everything is happening on Side 3.  Photos from a variety of angles work. What about the images of the firefighters snotty faces?  Those images tell a 'after the battle' story; they are usually my favorite images to create.

Are all the images you take worth putting on your website?  The answer is no. I would rather put my best work forward and allow the images to tell a complete story.  If you have to question if a photo is good enough then I wouldn't use it. 

Everyone has their own style with fire ground photography. This is my own perspective.  Please let me know what you think.


Lloyd Mitchell is a freelance photographer whose photos of firefighters at work began as a change of pace. “I started taking photography classes at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at the age of 15. The camp counselor thought I was good. The rest is history. I have worked with my community newspaper in Brooklyn for the last two summers. During the summer of my sophomore year, I wanted to work on a project different from things I had worked on during the school year. So I started to photograph firefighters. I would take portraits of them after jobs. I would drop the photos off to them. I didn’t expect the project to last two more summers.” “The project has been of fun. I’ve met a lot of amazing and down to earth people. My purpose of the project was I want people to understand what they go through on a daily tour. I have more of an artistic feeling to my images. I want my photos to tell an overall story. I don’t feel scared behind the lens. These people aren’t scared to run into a burning building.” You can follow Lloyd's work here and at his photography website.

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