6) Show your best

In my last tip, I advised not to hold back on how many frames you shoot. Once you have done that and downloaded the images to your computer, what should you do with them?

Often people show me their pics on their computer and I am always amazed that they seem to keep everything they shoot. It is important that you narrow down your selection to just the best shots. Your family and friends will soon get bored looking at six or seven almost identical shots, and they will be more impressed by your photographic abilities if all the weaker shots have been weeded out. You will also find yourself going back to look at your pics more often if you don’t have to look through all the ‘near misses’  to see the really successful ones.

Once I have loaded all my pics in to my image viewer (I use Adobe Lightroom), I go through each one and flag the ones that I think will make a successful photograph. There may be quite a few images that look almost identical but I will include them all at this stage to make sure that I am not throwing out the ‘winner’. This first step weeds out the shots that just haven’t worked.

Almost identical. Why keep both?

This one had to go.

My next step is to look at any shots that look very similar in the one window. Usually there will be a few that stand out and a few that just don’t look as good as the others. I will get rid of the obviously weaker ones now. A few of the shots will still have ‘duplicates’ and this is where it gets difficult. Sometimes the pics are so alike that it is hard choose which one I prefer. I will then switch between the similar ones so that I only see one pic on the screen at a time. I am often surprised to find that, having looked at almost identical images side by side, one of them will jump out as the best when viewed one after the other. If I can’t really decide which is the best, I will just plump for one.

Some photographers have a policy of never throwing anything away. I used to keep everything when shooting film but with digital files it is very easy to pick out the good ones and then separate them. I can’t imagine that if I decide a photograph doesn’t make the grade now, I will want to look through lots of files to see if I have changed my mind later.

If you really want to keep all your pics you can burn them to a disc and store them that way.

Now that you have narrowed down your selection you have to decide how to view them. I will cover this in my next post.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or can think of anything to add.

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3 comments so far

  1. I love your photography. I totally agree that the changes you can make using software to enhance your images are amazing. Changing the saturation and the contrast can make a dull picture really come to life, I used to compare my images with those in magazines and think mine were not very good but I must admit when I edit them they do look quite good. Do you recommend any reading materials, I am just starting out and only have a canon 450D SLR and no lighting or studio equipment. I, like you, prefer natural light but it isn’t always possible, I don’t really know where to start with equipment??

    By Lynn at 8:57 am on Jun 29, 2009

  2. Hi Lynn

    Sorry for the late reply but I have been away working.

    Don’t get too hung up on equipment. Almost all the pics on my site were taken using only a camera. The 450D will give you excellent results, so keep on shooting and you will soon learn what works best for you. When photographing people, I find having less equipment helps me concentrate on the person, as apposed to playing with settings.

    I find the Scott Kelby books are very easy to read and digest, although his sense of humour can become a bit tiring. Certainly worth a try.

    By Ken at 2:47 pm on Jul 10, 2009

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