You get home from your photoshoot, import your images, don’t look at them for a couple of weeks before it’s time to edit and then pull up an album with 1000 RAWS and start looking for the “good ones”. Sound familiar?
What if you could streamline your culling process to foster creativity, aid your storytelling and make you a better artist?
How the heck do you choose the “right” images? Ask these questions while you’re culling your images to be able quickly process through sessions.
HOT TIP BEFORE YOU START: I get it, there’s SO many photos to go through and right after the session, you are tired. BUT you need to cull your images as soon as you get home or at the very least, within 24 hours. You need to keep your inspiration fresh and your memory clear as you go through your subjects story and decide which way you’re going to tell it. An easy way to do that is to use software MEANT for culling quickly and loading previews efficiently like Photomechanic.
Once you are in the right headspace and have it fresh in your mind, ask yourself these questions.
Is it a shot of the landscape you’re in? Is it a little blurry but really sweet image? Is it of them being really silly and making silly faces? All of these moments are integral to a story and you are choosing which images matter the most to give them a visual journey. Make sure you are choosing wisely and giving them a story that moves at a good pace and will make them feel understood.
2. Do the subjects look flattering or are they in the middle of talking, moving at a weird angle, etc.?
If your subjects don’t look flattering, is there a different way you can see this image? Could you crop in on their hands, focus on their feet, or zoom in on their embrace? What can you do to this image to push yourself creatively and still tell a piece of your subjects story?
3. Is it a duplicate?
Are you including photos that look almost exactly the same? Your couple doesn’t need duplicates of the same pose over and over again. IF you are taking them at different angles or cropping them differently, then that’s a great way to use your duplicates but just including ten photos of the same pose with slightly varied expressions gets boring. Your couple won’t need ten of them.
4. Can you push your creativity within this photo and try something new?
If you feel like a photo is a little “eh” but there’s something about it, KEEP IT. See what you can do with it in Lightroom and focus on your creativity. You can create art out of some of the most “boring” or “dud” photos if you just start playing with it. SO if you have a photo you feel might be on the edge of deleting, keep it and see what you can play with. Get artsy and let your vision come to life.
Culling your images is an overlooked step of your editing workflow and should be considered one of the most important. This is the moment you are creating the story for your clients and it should be treated with the utmost care and specificity. Asking yourself these questions will allow you to cull your images quicker, creatively and with your clients in mind.
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