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Thread: How do you decide which are your best photos?

  1. #1

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    How do you decide which are your best photos?

    It's that decision dilemma again. Over 300 images and I need to select just 50.

    Last weekend was the local music/maritime festival and, as usual, I took over 600 photos which I have eventually whittled down to a reduced core but need to be even more drastic. I have to end up with 2 or 3 photos of each event for a web site. Obviously nothing will be permanently deleted.

    Some events, like the Punch & Judy show, are relatively easy but the sailing and some of the music events I'm finding a bit more challenging.

    So, while being undecisive, I wondered 'How do other people face up to this challenge?' Do you have a check list and award points to each photo? Would you choose something that looks attractive but isn't the most technically perfect image?

    Photos are judged all the time; so how do they do it?

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Geoff,
    I consider that a good photo needs to be at least technically perfect. Thats not always true on history if you consider famous Capa shoot on D-day. But not being under pressures of press material or bullets, we have time to take care of this aspects. So any non quality shoots are not considered ( better training to have then good all the time), then we star to select shoots that are representative of the proposal of the shooting, good composition, expressions and a lot of elements thats make a photo unique and represent best your view of the scene. Some times the feelings that a image can cause you is a good sign, but can easily be confused of your's memory feelings of the moment, and not some element present on the photo.
    I think this is a good idea to narrow down the selection. I normally not shoot to much, choosing what will give a nice photo and refusing to shoot something not that great. This will simplify the editing process later. Editing is a personal choice and an integral part of your photography.
    Best,
    Alex

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    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Hi Geoff

    An example of one I will keep and am happy to post (but u/s for printing) despite imperfections - by the nature of the subject I may never be able to improve on it, the Tern must be doing about 100mph and less than a second from start of dive to submersion. I imagine some sailing shots might be similar, an interesting juxtaposition of 2 boats rounding a marker buoy or something where it is near impossible to get adequate speed DOF etc but the moment means something to anyone who has been there and it could do so more than a perfect shot of something more boring.

    How do you decide which are your best photos?

  4. #4

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    That is certainly an interesting photo of the Sandwich Tern. I have taken plenty of photos of perfectly exposed water but the only reasonable images which I have of terns is with them sitting on mooring buoys etc.

    In reality, I think it would be easier to choose my one best photo of the entire 2 day festival rather than trying to get the best 2 or 3 of each event.

    The 'busking' acts on street corners are easier as I had to avoid passing people so these images are more likely to be simple yes or no decisions.

    The main stage (constructed from scaffolding tubing and plastic sheeting) is more of a struggle. The centre area is completely black, like a cave, with transparent sheeting on the outer part of the sides which gives a blueish tint. So it is notoriously difficlut to get good exposures and depth of field.

    And when, for example, there is a trio playing with a keyboard player on one side of the darkness and a bass player on the other side with a singer in the middle wearing, of course, white clothing and dark hair it becomes a struggle to get an interesting compositation. They may have played excellent music for an hour but from a photographic perspective, nothing really interesting happened.

    A similar dilemma occured with the brass band sitting in a circle on the car park area. Should I show the entire band or zoom in on selected individuals.

    I am thinking that I must include one overall shot and one close up of a singer/soloist. But that will still leave a lot of choices to be made between very similar images.

    Maybe awarding points to every image (say from 1 to 5) for each of certain aspects like sharpness, colour, depth of field, general composition, etc might work. At least it will help if I can narrow down the choice to a small number of 20 point images.

    I always thought I was indecisive - but now I'm not so sure!

  5. #5
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Why not have some friends look through what you deem technically best to get other opinions.

    Having been there and behind the camera, you have a perspective that's different from people who didn't attend or from people who attended solely for the experience. They may be able to see something in your photos, that you may miss, to help finding the overall best images.

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Here is my..almost but not quite good enough tern pic....

    img_7432.jpg
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    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 19th June 2009 at 09:09 PM. Reason: added image inline

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    As far as workflow..... In My Opinion

    Sometimes i take 800+ surf pics a day and come out with maybe 16 that i like well enough to show someone else...

    1. quickly view all images one at a time and delete out of focus or blurred images.

    2. go back one by one and look for images that portray action or emotion that is related to whatever event or subject your trying to shoot. I do this a couple of times.

    3. I create a file called 'best' in every folder of a days shooting and stick the goodies in there.
    that helps me from having second thoughts about the leftover unused pics.

    4. But for me its the action or emotion or feeling that a pic is portraying....and whatever it is it should be obvious..

    5. But..also I think for me and it might apply too you,,,I am gonan try to be more slective about what i shoot at a particular place..it will help me save time in going through my pics and might help me develop a more critical eye...

    6. be happy

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    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    Here is my..almost but not quite good enough tern pic....
    That's just a Common Tern, mine's a Sandwich

  9. #9
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Hi Geoff,

    I start as per Kevin; going through and deleting the no-hopers, but also grading as I go (usually)
    I go with the 1 to 5 stars system:
    1 = fairly bad, but has some unique merit, keep until I get a better shot (a sort of 'Must try Harder' mark)
    2 - 3 = ok-ish
    4 = pretty darn good, as good as best here (I don't get many of these!)
    5 = what I'll retire on!, Saving this for right time, right place, right lens, sharp focus, filled frame, once in a lifetime event shot which no-one else has

    Then I can filter by the star ratings and only PP the 3s and 4s

    Cheers,

  10. #10
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Do we need a "My Tern, your Tern" thread?

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by crisscross View Post
    That's just a Common Tern, mine's a Sandwich

    well mine is an American tern,,,which is automatically better..hehe

  12. #12

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Terns of endearment?
    its my tern
    do i tern you on
    tern it up


    hehe sorry ,,didnt get enough sleep last night..I was tossing and terning...



  13. #13
    crisscross's Avatar
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    time to tern this one off

  14. #14
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    A bad Tern (sorry Chris):

    How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Not diving, just snacking from the surface.

    Not wonderful shot (only a 2 star), 1/1000s @ f6.3, ISO800, way too cropped and not sharp!

  15. #15

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    I think we should have a Ternament.???

  16. #16

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Here is a Tern surfacing from a dive...instead of grabbing the fish, it has speared it with its beak.

    img_9656.jpg
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    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 20th June 2009 at 12:18 AM.

  17. #17
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Amazing shot, but hang on...

    He/she's not thought this through, how is it going to swallow it?

    Might explain why they drop them in flight!

  18. #18

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Dave,

    I'm glad you asked, because here is the same bird flying away with the fish stuck on its beak. Dropping them occurs - from what I've seen - when they are trying to rearrange the fish in thier mouth by flipping it around.

    I've never seen one spear a fish before, so what happened after this I have no idea.
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    Last edited by Colin Southern; 20th June 2009 at 01:16 AM. Reason: General tidy up

  19. #19

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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    This was my best effort at doing a good tern, while taking a tern around the harbour. A friend who works in the local hospital wanted a copy of this photo but that really meant taking a tern for the nurse! OK I can hear you all groaning.

    How do you decide which are your best photos?

    The previous day was foggy and there were hundreds of them all around the harbour so the next day, which was sunny, I went out with my dinghy to get some photos but only these birds were left.

    Talking about dropping fish. A couple of years ago we were hauling crabpots and my workmate was hit on the head by a fish falling from the sky! Must have been dropped by a gull.

    But back to the original thread. About 50 more images to check and edit the best. I am trying to be hard on selection but too many are still being saved so I will have to get down to some serious discarding soon.

    As advised, I try to zap the no hopers in camera as I go along. But at this festival, finding a darker area to sit down and have think means visiting licenced premises; which brings other risks!

  20. #20
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    Re: How do you decide which are your best photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    Here is a Tern surfacing from a dive...instead of grabbing the fish, it has speared it with its beak.
    That's a neat shot Kevin. I think our lot were going for eels. Maybe the fishing is to take them home for mum whose on the nest, so speared no problem.

    Hope you haven't minded us terning your thread around the spool a few times Geoff

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