Tony Brown Photography
7 Tips for Choosing Your Best Photos Fast
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Don't agonise... prioritise. And choose the best photos fast
One of the most time-consuming and difficult things in photography is the edit. Going through all the images you took and choosing your best photos, which ones to keep and which images to pass by. Maybe I can save you a lot of time and headaches with a few simple tips!
7 Tips for Choosing Your Best Photos Fast
1. Don’t take so many in the first place
When you take hundreds of images at a time, the idea of looking through every photo and choosing the best is daunting! If you take each photo with intent and wait for the right moments before pushing the shutter, you won’t have so many throwaways to wade through. Be careful to notice composition as you shoot and focus carefully. Time is money (and if not money, time is sanity) Think before you shoot.
2. Choose images that reflect your style
It’s actually quite surprising how much the images you choose reflect who you are as a photographer. Two different photographers could take the same set of images, and they’d choose completely different images to keep or lose. This is actually a great thing. It’s what makes you stand out from all the rest, and it lets your heart and soul shine through. I might keep images that others wouldn’t and toss some that they’d keep.
3. Watch for distractions
You may notice something in the photo that you know you’ll have to fix in post-processing. You have to decide if this is a deal-breaker, or if it’s worth the fix. You may take a shot on the day and love it, but when you return home to look through the reel you see that there are now little but glaring objects in shot you'd rather weren't there. In these situations you have to decide whether love it enough that it is worth fixing or not. Other times you might decide that you have enough images that don’t require extra work, and it’s not worth the hassle. It’s your call, but try not to keep too many that require extra time. So just be vigilant on the day, this comes with practice.
4. Blurry photos go
If any photos have softness or blurriness, they’re automatically out. What if the client wanted to print that particular image on a huge canvas? I don’t want to be the one to have to tell them that yes, the expressions are adorable but it’s going to look horrible when it’s blown up big. It’s so hard sometimes when everything else is great, but if you missed it, you missed it. You can’t fix blurry. You might have to pick a second choice photo, but do you want to be the photographer that gives out blurry photos? There are exceptions to this; sometimes I will shoot movement blur/ out of focus on purpose, or a particular photo will work as an abstract blurry image, but be very picky. This rule can also apply to any photos that are way off with exposure. Just let them go!
5. Eliminate similar photos
You may have two (or more) photos that are very very similar. They might both be cute, but one must go. You will lose a lot of impact with your collections of photos if many of them look the same. I know that it can be hard to give up a photo that you like, but nobody needs five photos of nearly the same look and pose. Decide which one speaks of your style better, check sharpness, choose the one that shows the subject’s personality a little better.
6. Don’t miss the hidden gems
You might have a photo that you know could be really great with just a little bit of work. Maybe a head swap, or a little bit of magic editing will make it into a photo you absolutely love. Sometimes photos that you might pass by initially may end up being your favourite. Watch for those photos that might be your favourites with a little wave of your editing wand.
7. Be ruthless, be quick
This may sound like a contradiction of the last tip, but unless you want to be agonising over every photo for hours, you have to move quickly. You have to be somewhat ruthless as you go through your photos. You can’t edit every single one and sometimes you just have to make quick judgment calls and move on. If I’m having a really hard time giving photos up, I will give them star ratings as I go through them; five stars for definite keepers and four stars for maybes. I usually end up with more five stars than I need, so the four stars automatically go. Sometimes it’s easier to let them go after you’ve given them a fair trial.