His photos are arranged in collections based on years. Within those years are subfolders of months (01-12). That’s it. No days.

4-5 hours of editing 10,000 images


  1. Go through photos, mark them as interesting and put them in a General folder. No categories etc. The General folder is set as a target collection. When you go through photos, anything that is mildly interesting, you hit B and this puts the photo into the General folder. Be liberal in this first pass.
  2. Go through the target collection a couple of times, then move to another target collection: Cull #1. This cull is about looking at the details of each photograph, the light, the patterns. You delete what you know you will never use. You identify what photos are worth spending time at.
  3. After this, there will be two more steps of edits, deeper that will happen in an iPad. At this point, CM doesn’t touch contrast.

Doing this process for photos taken in a long period of time would show where your photographic style changed.

For CM, his photographic style changed in 2018 after his first vipassana retreat and after he did his first 10-day solo walk. Solitude is a non-negotiable for him when he wants to take good photos.

For his book project, he looked for 100 images he is excited about and cull that into a max of 60.

CM duplicates photos and does tons of edits on them. CMD + apostrophe.

When you pull down the highlights too much, photo goes to HDR mode.

Reduce noise by lessening luminance and adding clarity.

4:5 portrait is so much better than 2:3 for portrait.

The next step is how these images you’ve chosen align with the narrative you are writing.

In 2016, CM started to move away from nature photography he was doing before into building and texture.

Autofocus sometimes feels like you are losing control especially with slow photography.

Shoot underexposed because it gives you more freedom in editing.

CM thought what if we shoot domestic life like laundry and start to ignore the cliches of oriental shrines.

For a book about place, you will need a photo that shows a bird’s eyeview of the entire space.

CM is fond of decreasing the highlights liberally to -100


Do not overly obssess on framing. You want to have good framing because a lot is unsalvageable but that’s it.

You don’t want to create a book with photos that are in lots of other books.

It’s so easy in photography to get lost in technical goofery without actually producing work.

Doing long walks, and doing those long walks a couple of times would show you patterns of humanity in display.


Craig Mod. (2021, August 2). A Most Boring Livestream—Photo editing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I42cEH5yblg