Trying to choose the best photos from a shoot can be difficult – especially for beginners. All too often you may find yourself spending long hours going over the photos that you snapped, and trying to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to discard.
If you want to speed things up a bit and learn how to quickly choose the best photos from a shoot there are a few things that you could try:
View the photos as thumbnails
The best way to start going over your photos is to look at them as thumbnails. Admittedly at that size you won’t be able to see much detail – but you should be able to spot any photos that are outright unusable.
In short this is a quick way for you to go over your photos and eliminate the worst ones. On top of that you may be able to spot some of the best ones too and earmark them so that you can look closer at them later on.
It should be noted that if you find yourself discarding too many photos as unusable, you should consider being a bit more selective. Taking fewer photos that have better quality and composition can help a lot – and that will mean you have fewer photos that you need to go over.
Group similar photos together – and eliminate some
Try to identify any photos that look similar on your first pass and group them together. Next you should compare them side by side, and identify one that you want to keep – then get rid of the rest.
The exact reason why you prefer one over the rest can vary. It could be that its quality is better, it has a particular style, or that the subject looks better – or anything really.
In some cases you may want to keep more than one photo despite the fact that it looks similar. Try to limit that urge to situations where the photos you keep are sufficiently different form each other that it warrants it.
Be ruthless in removing blurry photos
Despite your best efforts some of your photos probably turned out a bit blurry, either due to movement, focus, or something else entirely. While you could spend hours editing the photos to make them a little bit clearer, the results will are rarely great and you’re more likely to introduce noise into the photo.
Instead of wasting all that time (and more) – you should be ruthless and remove any photos that are blurry. The only exception is if only part of the photo is slightly blur and you think it can be fixed by cropping it out or stamping over it.
Look for visual clutter
As you go over your photos you should pay close attention to any visual clutter that may be in some of them. That could be stray elements that somehow made their way into the composition, or people accidentally photo-bombing it.
The question you need to ask yourself is: Does the clutter distract from the focus of the photo or not? If it doesn’t, you may want to keep the photo, but if it does it should go immediately.
The only exception where you may want to keep photos with visual clutter is if the subject looks really good and you want to use it in a photo montage. For example you could use Movavi Photo Editor and follow the steps at https://www.movavi.com/support/how-to/photo-montage.html.
Stop – and go back later on
After you spend a while pouring over your photos – take a break. Walk away from your computer, go get a cup of coffee, watch some TV, read a book, or do anything else to take your mind off the photos.
Then go back later on, and look at the photos once more with fresh eyes. Odds are you’ll find that you start to work through them more quickly than you were previously, and may spot some photos that you want to keep or discard almost immediately.
If you have the time to spare you may even want to sleep on your photos (not literally) and come back refreshed and re-energized the next day.
Although the steps listed above will help you to work your way through your photos more quickly and select the best ones – at the end of the day it boils down to a question of resolve.
It is up to you to steel yourself and eliminate photos ruthlessly. The one mistake beginners often make is they earmark too many photos that they think may be able to be fixed with some editing, and then end up having to spend hours editing a whole ream of photos – with mixed results.
Don’t fall for that trap, and instead just bite the bullet and get rid of the photos that you have any doubts about.