3 Steps for Narrowing Down a Group of Photos
This summer my niece and nephew were here from Texas for a couple days. I took a bazillion photos of them playing in the hose. I now have it narrowed down to 35 of my favorite. The problem is, I’m only planning to make one scrapbook page.
You know how it is. When you absolutely love the photos, you want to include them all. So how do you narrow it down?
Well, I’ve asked the experts — or at least the two I know really well, Linda Sattgast and Jenifer Juris — to give us tips for weeding through masses of photos to find the photos best suited for your memory books.
Here’s what they said.
Step One: Rate the Photos
Linda uses Adobe Bridge. Jenifer uses Adobe Lightroom. But they both do the same first step, they rate their photos.
- Go through your photos one by one.
- Give it a three star if it’s good.
- Give it a 5 star if it’s great.
- Photos that don’t get a rating get deleted.
What are the characteristics of a photo deserving a rating?
Linda says, “Photos that get a good rating have these characteristics: good expression and composition, sharp focus, good lighting (though I can work with that if I have to). They often have the “smile” factor. (They make me smile with pleasure when I see them.)”
Jenifer Juris added, “Unless I need a filler photo, I only rate photos where a face is showing. When I can see a face, that creates an emotional connection.”
Step Two: Chose the Best of the Best
Even after the rating and deleting system of step one, you are sure to still have too many options. Here’s how the experts determine which great photos go and which ones stay.
- Remove Identical Photos. Look for photos that are very similar. Only keep one of each expression or moment in time.
Linda says, “When I have similar photos I try very hard to pick only the best 1–3 of them and delete the rest altogether, even if they’re good, and then I try to use only the best one of those on my page. (I’m not a big fan of pages with a lot of almost identical photos. Yes, little Johnny is cute in ALL of those photos, but do future generations really want to look at all of them? Pick the best one and use it! That’s just my personal bias.)”
- Remove Dishonoring Photos. If you know your mom will hate the expression she has in a particular photo, then just delete it and use one that is more flattering instead.
Linda says, “I only keep photos that I feel will honor the people in them. Which photos will make them feel good when I show them the page? Often I can accomplish this better with fewer focused photos—even one photo—than I can with multiple photos.”
Step Three: Plan Your Story
- A single scrapbook page should tell a single story.
- All photos in a group should support the specific story being told.
- You might find that after you narrow down your story, you might also have to narrow down your photos.
Why Tell a Story?
- I narrowed my photos. I admit, going from a bazillion photos, down to 35, and then down to eight, was a little time consuming. But I’m so glad I did it because it makes the time I spend creating my scrapbook page so much more enjoyable.
- I narrowed my story. After starting my scrapbook page, I also found that I could easily narrow my story. Which took the number of photos on my page down to six. I’ll just save the other great photos for another story.
- I love the results!
Photos: Jen White
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