Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fast Image Selection: Take off your Glasses

 Here is a technique I learned many years ago to help me quickly select my “keeper” pictures from hundreds of images shot in the field, thinking "I'll choose the good one later".  Well, the more pictures you shoot the more time it takes to weed out the good ones, and after awhile you find you're spending way too much time in front of your computer. 

This technique is drawn from my days of shooting slides the same way (hundreds at a time and I had to pick just one or two).  The technique?  Put as many slides on my light table as I could, take off my glasses, and just look casually at a distance for the slides that just leap out at you.  Those will be the slides where the light is good, your composition is strong, and you have no distracting backgrounds.  And it's really amazing -- usually in about 2 seconds you can find your winners, without having to spend time scrutinizing each shot.  This is how photo editors choose images, too, so you might as well start thinking like they think.  It's a good habit to develop.

Can this slide technique translate to digital photography?  Sure!  Just use a program that shows you small thumbnails as in the example below.  Without having to look very hard, your good compositions should instantly be self-evident.  This is your first-pass; after that you have far, far fewer images to scrutinize for sharpness or good expressions.

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1 comment:

  1. Hehehe.... Gary, great idea. But... if I take off my glasses... they all look the same.... "blurry"..... O_o BUT.... when making the thumbnails all in their largest size... yep, this works.... Kind of gives it that effect you spoke of, in another blog, of how in film, we didn't see the photos as large as being on screen, so thus, our film photos were/are actually "blurrier" if we were to view them like we do our digital... so, we need to view our digital, "smaller" so to speak.... like as you say, printing smaller and viewing from a distance.... and this idea here of yours, it does work. The "keepers" do literally, "jump off the page" at you. And then when I put my glasses back on and "relook" at the "keepers" that I spotted, they really do look better than what I thought originally.... Doing your way here, I had quit "nitpicking" and really saw them for what they were.... The great photos that I thought I was missing from my film days... except these really are better.... Thanks for all your great knowledge and ideas.... a loyal fan you have here..., Val