The other day someone asked:
How do you pick 1 Photograph out of 100′s of Photographs?
Which is something I had to do daily for my 365 Project.
This was definitely one of the hardest things about my 365 project. When I had days where I came back with 100′s of photographs, how was I going to pick only one for the day?
It was very tricky, and sometimes more difficult than the actual photographing bit of the project.
However the more I did it, the easier I found it.
Firstly, this is my routine which really helps me narrow down the photographs and find the one:-
- 1. Import the photographs.
- 2. Open them
- 3. Start going through them, and mark the ones I thought were best. (see below for more info on this)
- 4. Import the select few into Lightroom (i.e. I started with 100 photos, narrowed it down to 10 photos)
- 5. Process them
- 6. Export them
- 7. Go through the “finished version” of each photograph and delete any which I felt weren’t good enough, on a second viewing.
- 8. Compare similar photographs with each other to find which is the best.
- 9. Delete the photos I felt were not quite as good as the others (i.e. composition, lighting etc).
- 10. End up with a select few and then the one to actually post.
Importing and Marking the Photographs
Note: I import my photographs from my DSLR to my laptop using EOS Utilities, which creates a folder on my laptop (dated 2011_09_15).
Once I have the photographs imported, I open my photographs in my computer’s built-in photograph “viewer”. For a Mac it’s called Preview.
Then I start going through the photographs (100 for example).
When I come to one I think looks good (based on light, composition etc) I will “save it” as a number (e.g. 1 and the next photograph 2 and so on…)
Once I have gone through the 100 photographs, I will likely have a bunch of photographs numbered 1 to 20, which I will then import into Lightroom.
Save Your Computer – Delete Unwanted Photos
Once I have my chosen photographs, I will delete the 80 which weren’t as good as the 20 I selected (saved).
Originally all of the files were numbered IMG_5555, IMG_5556 etc. So having gone through the above process, I can simply select all the files starting IMG_ and delete them.
This makes my life a lot easier as I know what is good, and what is bad. It also means I don’t have 100′s of images on my laptop which aren’t any good.
My Routine - A Second Pair of Eyes
One really important factor that helped me hugely was having a second pair of eyes.
You can be your own second pair of eyes, but if you have someone willing to be your second pair, this can be hugely helpful.
But obviously it is important that you both have similar tastes and styles.
My Second Pair of Eyes
My second pair of eyes was my mother. Her “eye” for composition, light, and also “feeling” is amazing.
So when I got to go through the processed photographs, she would regularly look at the finished versions with me, and help me to filter them down to just the select few to keep.
What really helped was an entirely different perspective. She was the viewer. Not the photographer.
When you look at your own work it’s often easy to get confused, overly critical or not critical enough. We’re all different, so what I do with my photographs and how I see them will be different to how you see your own.
But having an “outsider” look at them really helped me.
Comparing similar Photographs for THE ONE
As I mentioned above, if I photograph a similar scene, object etc, I will often compare the photographs to see which is the best.
When I say “the best” I mean, which has the best:-
- What the photograph looks like – i.e. is it a nice photograph.
Technically Brilliant – Example
So, let me give you an example…
Here is a photograph I recently took – technically it is good. The exposure is correct, the composition, the light is beautiful… but there’s something very wrong about the photograph.
The Bad Photograph
When I took it I was really pleased with it, but at the same time hugely frustrated.
The sun was perfect, the composition was good, and it even had that surfer walking into the sea which just added the icing on the cake…
But I was not at all pleased that I couldn’t get the photograph without the two people on the left.
For me, they completely throw the composition and you end up looking at them, instead of the sunset, sea and the surfer etc.
The Good Photograph
How much better does this look?
Do you see how the surfer is now the center of attention? In this version, your eye isn’t distracted by the two people on the left, or the dotted surfers in the sea.
Instead your eye can enjoy the sunset, the landscape, the surfer etc.
My eye also feels more relaxed – I am able to enjoy the photograph, instead of feeling like my eye is being fought over.
Before and After of The Lone Surfer
It’s a small thing, but it makes a difference…
That line is something I try to keep in mind as much as possible.
Sometimes I may think I’m being too picky, but if it doesn’t feel right then it isn’t right and that is important to remember.
As I said, “It’s a small thing, but it makes a difference”
Let me give you another example…
The Fence Photograph – which one is the best?
Here is a photograph of a fence I recently photographed. Both photographs are good, but there is one which is better than the other.
Below I’ll explain why I picked one, not the other.
Fence Photograph – Version 1
The Fence Photograph – Version 2 (the one I chose)
Comparing the 2 Versions
So what I will do with photographs like these, which are quite tricky to decide on, is look at each one.
Then go back and forward, back and forward to try and spot the difference between the two photographs and get a feel for both of them.
So what is the difference between these two photographs?
There is only one difference between these two photographs. The difference is the focus.
For this photograph I used manual focus. I was playing between near and far focus. i.e. if you look at the fence, with the 1st photograph the focal point is further away, and the 2nd photograph the focal point is much nearer.
I prefer the 2nd version as I see a lot more of the fence’s detail, yet I can still enjoy the rest of the photograph.
The 1st version was too vague, and I wasn’t drawn into the photograph as much.
As I said, ”It’s a small thing, but it makes a difference”.
How do you pick 1 out of 7 Good Photographs?
Choosing 10 out of 100 is a lot easier than choosing 1 out of 7 good photographs.
The other day I did Jump #6 in my 100 Jumps project. I took 104 photographs and saved 6 to process. I then uploaded just 1 photograph.
Here is Jump #6 and the others I decided weren’t quite as good. But bear in mind here, I am being very critical here.
Born to Fly – #6 of #100
This is my 6th Jump in my 100 Jumps project. I chose this one because so far I have yet to include a stag jump.
The setting is entirely new, as my previous jumps have been in the countryside, as opposed to the seaside. So the simple fact that it was a stag was what pushed me to pick this one.
Jump #6 Alternatives
I loved this one the most – the jump looks absolutely perfect and I also loved the detail in the water by her feet, combined with the composition, it was my 2nd choice.
This one didn’t feel quite right. It felt slightly stiff as her legs didn’t come up quite enough and her arms are a too high towards her head.
Again this one felt too stiff. I prefer the jump to look more free – here her legs are too straight and her head looks tense.
This one felt almost perfect, except that I hadn’t moved round quite enough, so the headland in the distance seems to come out of her stomach which I wasn’t really happy with.
This one is very similar to the above – although I feel her jump is excellent, the headland point is still sticking by her stomach, making the photograph look awkward.
If you go back and look at Jump #6 and my Favourite Alternative you’ll see how much better both are.
If you like my style and want to learn my tips easily I have the tools to help you do just that.
In my mind there is no doubt that you can become as skilled as me in as little as 6 months.
As many customers have said to me, it will become your essential item.
Do you have a question?
If you have a question, or need some help, send me an email and I will endeavour to help you.
Until next time… have fun!
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