We’re drowning in a sea of images. How do we choose our best photos?
1. Small thumbnails
Don’t look at all your photos in full screen. Rather, look at them as small thumbnails.
- Save time: It takes longer for your computer to process and load full screen photos. Looking at your photos as small thumbnails allows you to scan your photos quickly and efficiently.
- Better judge of your composition: If your photos work compositionally as a small thumbnail, the photo is probably good. It will force you to make more simple compositions, which are stronger than messy compositions.
2. Work backwards
Often, my best photos are at the end. Therefore, look at your photos in a reverse chronological order. Start from the back.
Even for movies, I like spoilers. Why? If the ending is good, I can watch the movie, and be excited for how the movie progresses.
Also, when you “work a scene”— often your subject loosens up. And the best, most relaxed photos of your subject are at the end.
3. Which Photos punch you in the gut?
Follow your gut when choosing your photos.
Choose photos that surprise, scare, or excite you.
A good photo should be like a haymaker punch to your dome (head), or a straight punch to your gut.
A photo without emotion is not memorable.
Sit on your photos and let them “marinate” before choosing them. When I choose my photos too quickly, my judgement of the photo is impaired. Why? I remember the experience of making the photo, rather than judging the photo more objectively.
Don’t rush to look at your photos. Take your time.
Only look at your photos when you are EXCITED to look at your shots.
5. STUDY CONTACT SHEETS
BUY MAGNUM CONTACT SHEETS and also study my CONTACT SHEETS.
If you study the contact sheets of other photographers, you will get inside their mind. And ask yourself,
- Why did the photographer choose this photo, instead of others?
- How did the photographer “work the scene”— why did they choose the angles, framing, and perspective the way they did?
- How many photos did they shoot of the scene?
If you need help choosing your best photos, share your images on ERIC KIM FORUM.
PHOTOGRAPHY 101 by ERIC KIM
If you’re new to photography, start here:
- Free Photography Bootcamp
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography
- 100 Photography Tips for Beginners
- How to Avoid Boredom in Photography
- How to Master Photography
- A Photographer’s Guide to Seeing
- PRETENTIOUS PHOTOGRAPHY
- Photography Energy Management
- How to Unlock Your Potential in Photography
- There Are No Good or Bad Photos
- The 5 Minute Photographer
- A-Z: PHOTOGRAPHY DICTIONARY by ERIC KIM
- Why I Want to Be a Photography Newbie Forever
- PHOTOGRAPHY FLUX.
- 10 Creative Photography Assignments to Re-Inspire You
- 50 Photography Tips by ERIC KIM
The Fundamentals of Photography
- GET CLOSER.
- Keep or Ditch?
- What Makes a Good Photo?
- Why Photography?
- Everyone is a Photographer
- How to take better pictures
- How to take better selfies
- How to Paint With Light
- Why Bokeh is Overrated
Photography Equipment »
- What is the Perfect Camera For You?
- What to Consider When Buying a Camera
- More Megapixels, More Problems
How to Take Better Photos »
- How to Take Better Photos
- How to Capture Emotion in Your Photos
- How to Create a “Curiosity Gap” in Your Photos
Composition Lessons »
- Composition Lesson #1: Triangles
- Composition Lesson #2: Figure-to-ground
- Composition Lesson #3: Diagonals
Photography Assignments »
- 40 Practical Photography Assignments
- 15 Street Photography Assignments
- 25 Photography New Year’s Resolutions
Contact Sheets »
- Street Photography Contact Sheets
- Street Photography Contact Sheets Volume II
- Debunking the “Myth of the Decisive Moment”
Editing (Image Selection) »
- Each Photo You Take is an “Attempt”
- How to Overcome Photographer’s Block
- Why Do You Need “Inspiration” to Shoot?
- How to Edit Your Photos
- Grain is Beautiful
- Are Filters “Cheating” in Photography?
- Video: Introduction to Editing, Processing, and Workflow in Lightroom
How to Create a Body of Work
Technical Photography Settings
Learn From the Masters of Photography
“He without a past has no future.”
- Why Study the Masters of Photography?
- Great Female Master Photographers
- Cheat Sheet of the Masters of Photography
- 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
- Beginner’s Guide to the Masters of Street Photography
- Download All Articles >
The Masters of Photography
Classics never die:
- Alfred Stieglitz
- Alec Soth
- Alex Webb
- Alexey Brodovitch
- Anders Petersen
- Andre Kertesz
- Ansel Adams
- Blake Andrews
- Bruce Davidson
- Bruce Gilden
- Constantine Manos
- Daido Moriyama
- Dan Winters
- David Alan Harvey
- David Hurn
- Diane Arbus
- Dorothea Lange
- Elliott Erwitt
- Eugene Atget
- Eugene Smith
- Fan Ho
- Garry Winogrand
- Gordon Parks
- Helen Levitt
- Henri Cartier-Bresson
- Irving Penn
- Jacob Aue Sobol
- Jeff Mermelstein
- Joel Meyerowitz
- Joel Sternfeld
- Josef Koudelka / Part 2
- Josh White
- Lee Friedlander
- Lisette Model
- Magnum Contact Sheets
- Magnum Photographers
- Mark Cohen
- Martin Parr
- Martine Franck
- Mary Ellen Mark
- Rene Burri
- Richard Avedon
- Richard Kalvar
- Robert Capa
- Robert Frank
- Saul Leiter
- Sergio Larrain
- Sebastião Salgado
- Shomei Tomatsu
- Stephen Shore
- The History of Street Photography
- Todd Hido
- Tony Ray-Jones
- Trent Parke
- Vivian Maier
- Walker Evans
- William Eggleston
- William Klein
- Zoe Strauss