So you've taken your images and you're either excited or dreading the end results but the route from camera to the final chosen picture isn't always so smooth as it sounds. Everyone has their own way of working and every creative job can bring it's own challenges however this is the basic train of thought, for me, when choosing the best of the bunch - this process rarely has any tweaks but sometimes doing this differently can be that essential spark for an idea. How do you choose 'the one'? What do you look for in your final images regardless of project?
D E L E T E T H E O B V I O U S
It's a very rare and happy day when you finish a photo set with 100% usable and beautiful results, so until that happens one of my first steps is to delete the images I know won't work or cannot be salvaged. From the angles, colours, blur, duplicates and lighting, there are a whole number of reasons why you choose not to go forward with a certain image or concept but getting rid of these first can give a better indication of what you're left with. This is still true if you're working with film cameras, when developed you can physically cross off the shots from the contact sheet you serious won't use (or digitise them and continue with the process in exactly the same way as per digital files), it's a great indicator and I find photography film work with negatives can be quite therapeutic as it's away from a screen. Sometimes you get more good images than you expected and other days ... well lets say the photo shoot wasn't as successful as you'd like - it happens.
B A S I C E D I T T H E S T A N D O U T I M A G E S
Without a doubt there will be images that speak to you and others that really don't in comparison. Depending on your project, doing a basic edit on the ones you currently like can determine how little or how much you need to put into this photo set i.e. editing. For my own basic editing process I usually start with Brightness, Contrast and Clarity and this is exclusively from the basic Windows / laptop editor (whilst I believe you don't need fancy pants equipment to create great imagery but quite frankly this pauper can't as yet justify the Adobe Photoshop cost especially when I can currently make the desired results). Doing a simple edit with your photographs can help you assess what is needed and if it's viable or if you might need to re-shoot a couple of shots. This can also help influence future photo shoots by showing what can be improved through the technicalities of the present shoot.
T A K E A B R E A T H E R & G O B A C K
It's very possible that the previous step was all that was needed to complete your image set and you've saved yourself some time which is always a good thing, especially if you've worked hard to do as much work in-camera as possible. However when you're just not sure or feelings of frustration are creeping in the best thing to do is to step back back and get away from your computer screen or those images for a while. Creating that separation can be a good thing as not only can you see things in a new light but also it can refresh your energy physically and mentally. You may feel differently about the images whether on reflection you like them and you can progress with a bigger, more extensive edit or realise that a re-shoot is definitely on the cards.
H O W D O Y O U C H O O S E Y O U R F I N A L I M A G E ( S ) ?