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How To Sucesfully Cull a Photo Session | Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Family Photographer

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

Hey everyone!

Another gorgeous day (up where we are anyway), so plenty opportunity to experiment outside!

Hope none of you are feeling confused or overwhelmed, a few have asked me what the rules are I just keep stressing there are none really, the whole thing will be as restrictive as you want it to be. Hope you’ve enjoyed the first couple of days and the photo-cogs have been churning thinking of everything around you and how it could fit into a theme!

I wanted to briefly offer up my 2 pence of advice on culling (selecting) the final images from a whole raft of snaps.

This is not easy - especially when we shoot digital and can just press the button and take 100 images in a few seconds (my analogue camera makes me stop and think twice, as taking a photo (so taking one with eyes shut or when the 'subject' quickly turns away is FRUST-RATING and expensive :)) costs approximately 70p!).

I used to do weddings and would often come home with 2000 (!!!) images, which I needed to take down to a slightly more manageable 500(ish), which was actually a brilliant learning curve.

Yesterday we had another amazing day outside - we splashed in the paddling pool, climbed around the climbing frame, played , painted on a huge sheet of paper and ourselves, listened to the bees buzzing in the trees and the rapeseed field around our house...

I took a LOT of photos. Before I even sat down to look at them I felt a bit overwhelmed for a second, but this is how I 'cope' with my over-shooting.

So the way I do it is quickly browse through the gallery and 'star' my favourites - mark them in some way - those, that catch my eye instantly for any reason. You can do this in Lightroom by hitting 'P' for 'Pick' ('U', if you change your mind and want to 'unstrap'; 'X' if you want to delete altogether) or on your phone, by hitting the little 'heart' symbol under the photo within the Albums, which will move the image into your Favourites album.

So you've selected your First Glance Faves, now go through the starred images and remove stars/hearts/U or X those, that pale compared to others. Be strict with pictures that look the same - if the subject's head is turned 2 degrees more left, don't spend longer than 0.002 seconds on deciding which is better - choose the one with the better sharpness, better exposure, better background/less distractions.

You should get down to a manageable number by this point and, if you still have more than 1/2/5 (depending on what you're culling, of course!), go through them again.

What helps me is thinking about real life. Yes, out of 100 photos I took yesterday, I could happily P/Star/Heart 90, edit them and save in an album, but will I ever use that many? Will I ever print all 90 and put up on a wall or around the house? Will I include the full 90 in the annual photo Album of our son's year? Unlikely, so I get strict and restrict myself to editing just one, couple or a few, save them in a separate folder on my computer as well as the original folder (for easiness of finding - this is just my method :)) and enjoy the rest of my day.

Now, as for the rest of the batch, there are two main schools of thought here. I know some people, who will select 5-10 out of 100 and DELETE the rest. Forget about them forever, because chances are, no one ever goes back and looks at the photos with shut eyes, out of focus etc..

I am on the other team - Team Hogger.

I will, admittedly, delete COMPLETE shockers - where the image is white or black (over/underexposed with no chance of recovery), absolutely out of focus or just rubbish content-wise (surely, I can always recapture a rubbish content picture if need be). But, the rest I keep because 'what if'.

So you're free to decide, which 'method' is best for you (and this might change, you might become a lot more confident in your work and delete the rejects without a second thought), but my advice is - keep the 'Picks' somehow separate from the rest, so you can easily access them whenever.

Voila! Hope this is helpful, if culling was something that bogged you down before!

body art, face paint, child, painting outdoors, art, art attack, go wild, garden fun
One of 100. I 'picked' a LOT, but chose to edit just this one today - I like his positioning, the background was the most advantageous and he's looking at the camera. You can also see his face-art quite well, so it made the cut.

I've also started using tags of #cpscavenger2018 and theme-specific ones, such as #cpscavenger2018_joy or #cpscavenger2018_ruleofthirds on Instagram, so any posts relating to those tags can be found by searching for them. If you're on Instagram and want to share your images (or even if just for you to keep track of your own), tag away!

Also, on the Blog you can select a category of Scavenger Hunt 2018 and see all the posts relating to this summer's photo-adventure, to refresh your memory on anything or just to browse the pics.

Remember the first of the weekly Grids will be getting posted on the group on Friday, so hopefully you've been busy snapping away and I am expecting a few submissions over the coming days.

Back to the office for me tomorrow, so I'm not expecting too much progress on the 'Hunt' until the weekend again, BUT the countdown for some holidays is ON - and I haven't decided yet, whether my big camera will be coming with or if I'll be 'getting real' (see here) and just taking my trusty little point-and-shoot.

What do you think I should do - Get Real or Put My Back Into It?

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