How Do I Choose? Help With Image Selection - Portraits

January 31, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

You took HOW MANY pictures?!?

You love your teaser images on social media.  You love the day your full gallery goes live on the website.  But, the task of selecting your images from a large gallery seems a bit daunting.  With a little guidance from me and strategic use of the tools my website provides, this process can be a lot less like work and more like a joyful stroll down Memory Ln.

Don't over-shoot the session!  This is a mantra that most professional photographers will sing, and it is good advice.  Indeed, if your photographer is a true pro then he/she will be educated, experienced, and trained to the extent that they won't need to shoot 25 frames for each pose and setting.  Keeping that in mind, there is a huge difference between over-shooting and documenting the moment.  I recently conducted a portrait session of six adults individually under controlled lighting for corporate profile images.  I shot 18 frames.  The client image selection process was very brief.  The following weekend I photographed a three generation family of 26 people with little kids on the beach... and they brought a football.  I shot significantly more than 18 frames.  The different styles here are portrait photography and photojournalism (and often in sessions the two are combined), and your type of session is going to determine how much time you will spend sifting through and selecting your images.

Portrait clients, your job is pretty easy.  Your images were captured under completely to moderately controlled circumstances.  Light, movement, scenery, emotion, wardrobe, etc. were manipulated to yield the perfect image of you and your loved ones and because of these factors you should generally have far fewer image proofs through which to browse.  You are going to want to look for that gorgeous art piece; the print or canvas that you proudly display for years to come.  You should concentrate on composition, lighting, body positioning and posing.  Is there anything distracting in the image?  Is the posing flattering and natural?  Is each face properly lit?  Is everyone in focus?  Are you looking for tack-sharp focus or a softer look?  Think about your style, your home decor, and wall space.  Also, look for complementary images.  These would be pictures that you might wish to display in smaller sizes around the feature art piece or in smaller frames throughout your home.  In previous posts I have discussed the importance of continuity in creating flow.  This is important to consider when displaying images as well.  Even though it's a portrait session and not a wedding, the images still tell the story of your family.  These are all questions and issues that I discuss with my clients and encourage them to consider before picture day.

That's all good advice, right?  But, you are most likely not an expert and I don't expect you to be.  That is part of my job.  If you have any questions at all, or are not sure which image might look better, just give me a holler.  We can look at them together and I'll walk with you through the process.  Use the tools my website provides, as well.  As you are browsing through your gallery you will know two things immediately; you love it or you hate it.  For my part, I hope you love all of your images, but everyone has different bugaboos about their appearance.  I'm going to filter out all of the blinks, slouches, and zombie eyes so you don't have to worry about that.  But, use your initial gut reaction to an image to start your personal filtering process.  On your first spin through the gallery just run the slideshow feature and let it go without making any decisions.  Then browse through and start a "favorites" collection using the Add To Favorites tool above each image.  That way each time you revisit your gallery you are greeted by fewer and fewer images.  This will help you visually and psychologically.  In addition, you can share your favorites collection with me so I can help you further with your selection.  Before you know it you'll have your prints, canvases, books, and digital files and your session will show real results... unlike the ten thousand pics stored randomly in the memory cards of your life's electronics.

Next week... photojournalism clients!  Weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvas, family reunions.  I'm gonna walk you through it.

Until next time, find your joy.  Creating beautiful images for you is mine!



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