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How to Pick Your Best Photos – Go From 600 Images To 4

Last Updated on November 1, 2020 by Devaun Lennox

In today’s video I’m gonna walk you through how I select image is aka cull photos my my entire selection workflow from start to finish

Part 1


Alright so here we are in capture one that you’re seeing on screen so for the shoot that we’ll be putting we’ll be posting some behind the scenes photos you guys will see me basically with this same desk setup that I’m working on right here and what I’m doing is I’m actually shooting tethered to my MacBook Pro and I’m using my macbook pro as basically the mediator for holding images and basically my SD cards so to speak not only that I’m also using as a secondary display and I’ll do a more in depth video on setting up capture 1 and things of that nature but

suffice to say I am I imported these photos directly after they were shot to this application so you’re seeing that there are a lot of different applications that you can do this kind of selection process you could do Adobe Lightroom you could do capture capture one pearl like I’m using right now you can do Adobe Camera Raw you can do the Sony’s app you can do Panasonic’s app there’s a lot of different applications that do this but suffice to say I’m gonna show you guys my selection workflow and this is the first time see these images I didn’t you know when I was shooting yesterday I didn’t look at the images besides when I was composing that was it and I scrolled briefly just to make sure my creative team they were seeing images and things that nature from from their creative standpoint so hair and makeup and wardrobe that they they

if they saw an issue they could fix it but I wasn’t looking at the images so this is the first time that I’m looking at them so this is gonna be very much a I guess it’s gonna be very much like my first impressions my like actual reactions so you’re gonna see all the images good bad ugly whatever we’re gonna just do the entire workflow this video may be a two-parter just because it might be kind of long so I’ll kind of keep that in mind as we go along but this is gonna be my entire workflow and I’m gonna explain why I’m selecting certain images I’m also gonna show

you how I get from 600 images that we have here narrating narrating that down to the top four or five images maybe maybe six images altogether so stay tuned and we’ll get that started right now so this is an image I just put on screen just so you guys have an idea what it looks like but this is not the first image so let’s actually scroll over to the first image okay I’m gonna go through this kind of quickly one of the things that I will kind of like share with you guys would capture one is that you basically use the back the forward and backward keys to move forward

or backwards and then I’m all I’m gonna do is just press the 3 key on my keyboard to basically star or flag an item or a pitcher in this case so that I can come back to this pitcher and then I can start narrowing them down selectively so the first round that I go through I just go through all the images to see which ones are just okay and then from there I go from ok to good and then I go from good to great and then I go from great and I put them in a more a smaller subsection catalog and then I look at them side by side to find the final images so that’s my workflow

personally I don’t know if you guys will find value in that I don’t know if you guys will find value in this video at all but not everyone showcases their workflow so I’d like to showcase that to you guys today so we’re just gonna kind of speed through I’ll just either basically say no or yes and if I say yes or maybe I’ll let you guys know why so no definitely not nope nope nope maybe maybe maybe so with these ones why I’m selecting those ones and we’ll kind of refine it down a little bit I just like the the 3/4 positioning and in the in the first round I’m saying maybe

right now because I don’t know what I captured and this is the same exact process that models and I go through after we do a shoe we’re not really entirely sure what we captured so it we’re kind of hesitant on the selections so we usually select a lot more images initially and then we work our way down because I have no idea what we capture this the first time I’m looking through these images but if I find one that’s compelling I’ll let you guys know but I’m just liking these images because you know I’m not sure what we captured and you know the 3/4 shot and this little head shot turning action isn’t bad so we’re gonna we’re gonna keep those yes that one’s good uh ones okay okay that one’s okay I’ll take that one uh I’m not totally convinced that one’s good like that one yeah it’s a great three-quarter shot really shows off the flowers

the hair hmm no I’m not really feeling those I’m really feeling any of these nope I go through these pretty fast so you know brace your eyes I just got I’m just going you guys won’t know is I’m just going backwards and forwards but you know after a while you after after doing this you you get to a point where you just kind of know your style no and for me like the biggest thing that I’m looking at so you know as I go through these kind of speedily what like I kind of explain what I’m really looking at I’m looking at the models eye connection to me as the viewer I’m

looking at how she connects with the camera camera and then you know the emotion that she’s giving in that moment I’m also looking to make sure the pose and the composition is flattering towards her and then also the theme that we had and make sure that we can see all the elements and that it suits that outside of that sometimes I look at lighting as well to make sure lighting isn’t bad and I can recover it in post-production that’s something I look at as well but those are the main things I’m looking at you know it’s always expression for me first you know

the expression has to be good if the expression isn’t good the photo is bad if the photo is out of focus the photo is usually also bad – to a certain extent but yeah expression for me it’s everything then so no really not feeling those that’s okay it’s a good makeup shot not really feeling those no that one’s okay another good makeup like three-quarter shot yeah shows the hair really well oh that one’s good mm-hmm so for this one I just like the emotion so you guys will kind of notice as I go back and forth between this like wonder mouth isn’t open to when her

mouth is open uh I know it just kind of relaxes the face a little bit and makes it look a little bit I don’t know more intimate or it’s hard to explain exactly what that mouth open kind of does but it doesn’t it’s not like it’s serious it there’s a little bit more of a I don’t know like a joy and like a sense of like not necessarily security but there’s like there’s just more a sense like they’re we’re connecting more I don’t know it’s gonna be hard to explain this because this is one of those things as a photographer this is the hardest thing to do to explain what we see in an image

but you know ultimately I think this is important so I want it I want to still try to somewhat explain this to you guys but yeah there’s just a way that she’s looking at me the viewer and when I captured this that like we connect in this moment and I like that it fits my it fits like I don’t know my might vibe if you will it’s hard to explain oh that’s a great makeup shop like that one that’s great oh yes see this is what talking about so the the slight mouth open I don’t know what that does but it just relaxes your face it makes her look more open yeah so yeah it just makes a big difference I can’t explain what that does but it just yeah it relaxes the face and it it’s we didn’t want it to be serious for this we want it to be kind of woodsy and she’s just intimate and she’s just having a good time and she’s she’s playful to a certain extent but like the

modely playful okay I’m gonna kind of go through he’s kind of fast and not really liking the fact that we’re hiding all the makeup here the lips no I don’t like these not like a nose no okay we may get something over here no still not like in those no okay grab some coffee okay nope but yeah this process for me is like could be ten minutes but I’m explaining I’m gonna do my best to explain as if we kind of go along so uh you know bear with me on that front but yeah this is literally how fast I call images or like select images it’s called culling if you guys are curious someone it’s actually called it’s the photographer’s term no and my my computer is gonna start freaking out a little bit so you guys will be hearing some fan noise right now is it as we start to go ham going through these images no don’t like the hand positioning quite yet that’s better

yeah hands are one of those things too that if it’s if it’s if they’re not positioned properly this would be a whole another whole nother thing to talk about if they’re not positioning properly properly relative to the camera they can look like lobster claws really quick and yeah hands are really hard to position cuz you want them to be very gentle and softer you don’t want them to be blocky like this it just looks real bad so yeah that’s one of the things I’m looking for in these sets of images right now so I kind of explained that for you guys yeah the hands are really

tough to position not everyone who has great hands okay so that was a first look so let’s move on to the next look oh yeah there we go that’s great those are awesome so for me okay so a couple things I’m looking at I’m looking at the symmetry in terms of the garment I love the hair flowing in the wind we had a little fan on on the screen right hand side I guess the a screen right hand side and I just love that hand positioning it makes her jaw structure look fantastic yeah these are these are great oh these are awesome so yeah I’m gonna just I’m gonna basically

flag all these ones and then I’ll go back through in a second in a second round to narrow them down it’s cuz I’d like that pose okay so with these ones I’m gonna do more of a full deconstruction on this but essentially we just had a parasol in the background so you guys will basically be seeing that it’s just a prop that we our makeup artist had and we just put that in the background to add some more texture when you’re shooting in studio props are really everything if you don’t have like amazing wardrobe and you know sick hair and stuff like that we had a lot of

those elements but at the same time we it still needed a little bit more so so just looking at composition at this point yeah I like that little head tilt okay all right okay I kind of like the mouth close there a little bit as well I don’t like the head in that angle that’s not her strong side thumbs okay okay we threw some flowers in there maybe nope keep on kind of scrolling along through here I made a huge difference you guys didn’t see the before-and-after difference there it makes a huge difference it was okay yeah that one’s okay – I like the hand positioning looks kind

of more of that intimate kind of vibe yeah that one’s cool – I like that one oh it’s okay well one of these oh wow that’s great I love that one sounds great again looking at the symmetry I’m looking at the strength in the face that little bit of an eye squint yeah and then the symmetry just the messiness of the hair it just looks strong and for me as you know I just I saw the difference the subtle difference in exposure there and then her looking down and with the little I squint it made you know it helps connect to the viewer is kind of what what it does for me [Music]

after I finished up this look will will break this into a part to you same kind of vibe there okay it’s okay okay just keep on all eyes closed all right moving along like kind of the head tilt on that one I like the way the hair is flowing in this one one’s cool yeah same thing with that just kind of like the head tilt and the hair positioning it’s more like a hair shot I like that one too I’m same for the same same reason as before parasol’s a little bit bright but that’s fine no oh no we get a little bit of black out still rendering some of the images like the hair movement there that

was great yeah that classic messy messy hair look yeah it’s great with the fan yeah I like those ones so I’m starting some of those ones as well yeah this is just wrong same reason I squint as before yeah she did that I squint on that one as well which just looks super strong oh it’s cool Aseel okay but yes with that we’re gonna kind of just take a quick pause right here and I’m gonna break this into two parts we still have a long way to go we have up maybe about where I would say we’re probably about halfway we’re a little bit over halfway so well I’m excited to kind of show you guys the second look but with that we’re gonna break it into a second part just so you guys can see the entire workflow for this so we’ll be back here shortly

Part 2


We’re gonna kind of pick up where we left off in the previous video and we’re gonna continue me showing you my culling workflow from start to finish alright so here we are back in capture one if you haven’t seen the first video I would definitely encourage you starting over there maybe just kind of skipping through kind of get some nuggets and things of that nature looking at the images and things of that nature and just understanding how we got to this point we’re about halfway through the culling workflow right now again culling means to basically refine

a selection to basically narrow down a selection of images it’s a photography term that basically means that so I have some coffee this is gonna be a longer longer process so we’re coffee it up and here we are so let’s pick up where we are right now okay so we left off at that pose right there and we’re gonna start right here I love that one that was great again like I was saying before in the last in the last segment it’s just like you know that that relaxed mouth it’s just in the I squint it’s just not everyone can do that first and foremost you know after shooting a lot of people I mean I’ve shot to 300 people in the last year and a half you know I’ve shot a lot of people but not everyone can do that some people are better at that than others some people they don’t have enough experience but that those moments right there when you capture

those moments they make or break images it’s so subtle you know just the the the mouth and I squid there makes a huge difference I mean I don’t know if you guys can notice the difference there but yeah it’s it’s so subtle it’s just a slight squint of the eyes and just relaxed the mouth like boom there we are yeah it just makes a huge difference so definitely starring that one this one right here and let’s continue moving along that one’s okay kind of keep on going add some flowers these are taken from a previous shoot definitely really reuse your props if

you’re not using now didn’t don’t always just return them back to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby don’t be that guy I’m always that guy but I keep some of them so that’s that’s what’s up this one’s okay I like that one those are all right yeah particularly love those ones you know loving those like how I frame that one yeah I would say maybe on this one kind of like the I would have to crop it a little bit but yeah I like the framing on that one the symmetry okay we’re into the third and final look so this with this this is a Geisha themed look if you’re a little bit confused as

to what we’re doing with the makeup and all this stuff yes mm-hmm I’m gonna go back over here maybe this one no [Music] my fans are going ham on my computer so apologize for the fan music maybe I’m just waiting for it I’m looking for that image we definitely got it but haven’t seen it yet sounds okay and this one I’m like like I said before I’m first and foremost I’m looking at the face I don’t look at the composition and all that stuff until like I look at the face and the eyes and do I connect with the eyes in that shoot are the eyes strong yes or no and then I started looking at composition then I started looking at the finer details like hair and I guess positioning and things of that nature and how easy is it going to be to edit this photo for example right those are the things I look at after the fact but I’m looking at the eyes first and foremost so if you’re wondering where I’m looking I’m literally looking writer eyes and if I if I don’t feel that connection then it’s just it’s a no-go for me eyes are a little uneven in the shop but I do like that shot okay we’re getting to a point where the computers gonna have to buffer mm-hmm

maybe I don’t know there’s something about that one not quite know no not connecting with the eyes right here maybe oh it’s out of focus that was just strong I just like the ice went there that’s good No yeah oh that’s cool nice that’s pretty cool this one for me it’s just like yeah I mean I just this showcase this showcases the makeup really well like I love their her hand positioning I think that’s fantastic the composition is just really interesting because like the the parasols on this side while there’s still a lot of open space here just kind of drew my eye immediately to that one that one’s awesome I was great okay well I can’t I’ll come back to that one might be maybe I was looking at that one for a little while another thing I didn’t mention before is it’s like you have to kind of trust your instincts you know when you like when you’re

looking through your images and you kind of get stuck on an image and you can’t explain why you should definitely start at that image your subconscious is basically saying that you like this you can’t explain it consciously but your subconscious knows that that’s you you know it embodies like the original idea that you had in that moment and it’s capturing that specific moment so definitely definitely encourage you guys to to save those man absolutely definitely encourage you guys to save those okay so we’re gonna kind of just yeah for this one again great makeup shot I really like the hand positioning oh that one’s great – yeah okay well that was the last image nice okay so we went from six hundred and nineteen let’s see where we went from six hundred and nineteen images down to 61 and there’s definitely a handful of these in there

that I selected just because I wasn’t sure what we captured so now we’re gonna go we’re gonna go back into capture one go over here in the ratings and I was using three stars so I’m gonna go from three star to four starter the five star and then I’m gonna export those out and then I’m gonna a and B them basically is what I’m and ultimately do so I’m gonna go back through and we’re gonna just look at these ones right now and basically if they’re if if I still really like them I’m gonna hit four instead of hitting number three on the keypad so I don’t think these are

strong enough okay something about the image I’m hit for on that one and I’m just gonna kind of trust my instincts on this one guys honestly if I keep on looking at that image yeah some things just tell me that hey that’s a good image and then just leave it at that so yeah that one absolutely the hair looks better than that one ones pretty strong too and be fair well compare those I’d probably do that one okay let’s sing probably do that one yeah I’ll do the lip okay I would skip that one see what my options are here probably do that one okay um something

about that one that’s stronger I don’t know she kind of scrunched down a little bit though so she’s not as long I probably do that one as well yeah definitely that one that won’t open eyes or closed eyes mm-hmm I’m too closed eyes yeah um it just has a lot of punch do that one too mm-hmm that one that one okay so we went from 60 down to 20 we are getting close here and then now what I do is I essentially I look through each individual set um but since I don’t really have that many images may very well just kind of know I’ll do one more round I’ll do one more round and instead of hitting number four on the keypad now we’re gonna hit number five and we’re gonna go through one last round I would do that one well yeah one of those two I would do that one that one ones okay ones okay that one’s pretty strong yeah ones okay I’m

not really totally jumping at that one yeah which she’s like scrunched down a little bit she doesn’t look as flattering in that one so I’ll do that one that one that one yeah let’s still do those two okay now for the fun part we’re down to ten images so we went from 620 down to 60 down to 20 now down to ten so this is what I do in the final the final section and I’m actually going to export these images as variants and then we’re gonna do a hundred percent JPEGs and I’m going to essentially just put these on in my pictures library or my pictures folder on my desktop and then we’re gonna compare these side-by-side so we’re gonna wait for these to export and that’s gonna take 30 seconds now once this is finished I’m gonna break this into the final segment and then we can we can we can narrow these bad boys down and I’ll show you the top

images that I’ve selected from this now this is not perfect may go back and kind of look through and make sure I’ve double-checked and I look through the nooks and crannies to make sure I haven’t missed it but you know ultimately you have to trust your gut gut instinct and once you just you know you should shoot so much you you just get to a point where you just know what you’re looking for even though you don’t know what you’ve captured and it’s I know that sounds kind of crazy but yeah you get to a point where you just kind of know what you’re looking for so yes I’m gonna basically I will I will break this into another final segment right now and we’ll come back and we will I’ll kind of explain what I’m going to be doing in that final that final segment so we’ll see you in the next video

Part 3



Welcome back to the third and final segment of my my my culling or my selection process my selection work pro from start to scratch or from start to finish rather and so in the last video essentially where we left off is I exported the the images that we narrowed down so we went from six hundred and twenty images down to sixty down to forty down to ten images and then what I did then was I exported the images out to my pictures folder here on my macbook pro and what we’re gonna do now since we have the images exported we’re actually just gonna

open them up in preview / look and we’re gonna select the top three images because I I mean I was just for me I you know my perspective is this you’ll need one image to really represent a look it’s nice if you get two or three and you can make into a catalog or whatever but at the same time you really just need that one image we shoot you know 150 or 100 images per look because we want to make sure we have a lot of flexibility and we want to make sure we get that image and if we don’t we get something that’s at least good right that’s publishable but at the same time you know my perspective has always been it’s like i’m just looking for the one image if I get one image through seven hundred or a thousand shots if I take that I don’t take that many but you know if I if I were to do that and you know we’re shooting for you know six seven eight nine ten hours or whatever it is if I get one image for that day I’m good that’s it I’m just looking for one images if I get more than that icing on the cake at that point but I’m just looking for the one image per look at that point so essentially what we’re gonna do now since

we exported those images I’m actually going to command click and I’m gonna open each one of these in preview so just kind of just wait for it to actually can just use open and it’ll default to open in preview so we’re gonna do all those for this look we’re gonna do all those for this look and we’re gonna do all those oh sorry I need to add that to the other one and let’s go back over here let me scroll that in there add that one as well okay so I’m gonna hide this the the sidebars cuz we don’t need to see that I don’t have a big enough monitor to showcase the sidebars as well it’s just not gonna work and then this is something I did in a previous video when it comes to like basically making sure your images look good as a set so you’re welcome to refer back to that video if you’d like to see more information on this kind of process right here but this is this is what it looks like in practicality and in real life so essentially what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna look at these images side by side and I’m gonna make sure that they they embody the theme that we had and they really look cohesive as a whole set there’s a lot of

variation the model looks really good the hair looks awesome the makeup looks awesome and as a team I think to just make sure the images really represent all of us as a whole so that’s basically what I’m gonna do so I’m gonna just click on each individual one and I’m gonna use the basically the up and down arrow keys on my keyboard to go between the images that are in a gallery so I think that one out of these two images yeah I would say the mouths open on that one just has a that you know more like relaxed kind of look and then I’m just gonna go click right here and go up and down and then just make sure that the energies are different I’m actually gonna go to this one over here first just because I want to see what the end result is because I don’t want all the eyes to be closed that’s kind of my fear are writing okay and how we’re

gonna oh that’s pretty cool like that okay that’s one of my options here hmm okay okay hmm okay interesting so at this point this is where it gets kind of challenging right because to narrow it down to the top three so I’ve already narrowed these two down here I don’t think I would necessarily use that image from that point it’s just gonna be coming it’s gonna come down to whether it’s gonna be necessary I guess basically this image right here or more than likely this image right here so what I’m looking at when it comes I’m actually going to open up the side market as well so I can close some of these other images yeah I’m gonna close these ones these are and these images are great it’s not to say that they’re bad or anything like that but you know we only so much time to edit photos there’s a reality situation I don’t have that much

time so I can’t be editing all of these photos so I kind of explain what what I’m looking at when I’m looking at these two photos and how I’m gonna make this decision so I’m looking at all these entire set right so to make sure that all of the images that are presented here they’re different all right she’s looking you know her eyes are open and one her eyes are closed in one she’s looking this way in one she has a different I guess emotion or like she’s a moding differently to the camera that the energies are different I don’t want them to be like all photos of her looking in one direction with her eyes closed because at that point there’s not a lot of variation yes sure there’s variation and looks that we’ve shot but there needs to be very variation in the pose and the theme even though we’re still shooting on that gray seamless background and

all of that stuff the lighting hasn’t changed all that stuff right but there needs to be variation in that that’s important so what I’m looking at when I’m looking at these two photos is like is it enough variation does a hair look good it does it embody the concept and I mean I honestly like this one to be quite honest with you I just think it’s just it’s just so much different they’re all so different granted I still oh sorry yeah I still I mean this image is is good but I’m gonna close that one as well I’m actually gonna do this one my only fear with this one and what that one was that they’re they’re both you know eyes closed and and she’s just kind of looking away off to this side so they’re they’re kind of similar in that front but so I may very well end up going back in changing this specific image on the left-hand side over here and then kind of narrowing it

down that way but because I think these two as as a grouping these two images right here I think these two images are great together but they’re just different energies are different but ultimately I kinda have to go back through that workflow a little bit but this right here is really the the process that I take now it would be nice if I got to the the final final images right the second but you know it takes a little bit time I don’t want to bore you guys with the gruesome details as I go back and forth but essentially this is this is the this is the workflow on how I go from really 600 images down all the way to 10 well not even 10 images three images so it would just be something like that again the only I would change one of these photos just because they’re the emotions is the same and I would I could do that one right there but I feel like there’s just

a better image so I would change one of these two images here I think this is great though but I hope you guys got some value from that I know this is a longer set of videos or a longer entire video whatever we decide to do on that front so I get that this is long but I wanted to make sure that I cover the workflow and so you guys haven’t a reference right I know it was kind of fast and I didn’t really really explain exactly what I was saying no to a lot of images but you have to trust your gut instinct after a certain point you know once you shot you know 100 200 300 shoots then you’ll get to a point where you just kind of know ultimately what you’re looking for and you know as great as this was the shoe it was absolutely incredible I still know what I’m looking for and I know just subconsciously like what what poses and things of that nature

typically best suit models and best suit hair and best suit makeup just because I have a lot of experience doing that stuff so and and that’s something you guys have to kind of go through just kind of the grind little by little and just build that muscle but know it’s possible you know this process was super fast I could I could easily do this whole process in 15 minutes but since I’m explaining I’m talking so like that it’s gonna be a little bit longer but yeah this process is super super fast for me I don’t I don’t take a lot of time when it comes to that sometimes I will come back time and time again just to kind of like you know revisit the selection to make sure but outside that I usually trust my aggressive gut instinct and I just kind of go with it at that point and they keep some of the images on the back burner if I want to use them at a later date

but this is would be ultimately the selection that would be the last and final images that would be published at least immediately some of the other ones can be published later but yes so I hope you guys got some value out of this video if you’re new here please consider subscribing if you haven’t done so already we’d love your support in your and your your contribution to the community man absolutely join us if you’d like to please leave a like and a comment in the description down below let us know if we missed anything or if you know you know what is your

what’s your kind of workflow are you doing this through you know adobe camera are you doing this through lightroom are you doing this on the camera like you know what are you how are you kind of curating your images how many images do you normally take in a shoot I know this is 600 images so maybe you’re not taking that many I get that but at the same time you know let me know in the comments down below we can have a discussion about that I’m we’re very responsible in our comments so you know let us know and this is Devon Lenox photography px’ thank you for tuning tuning and my friends we’ll catch you next video peace out my friends

Photo of author

Devaun Lennox

I'm a fashion, beauty, and commercial photographer turned impromptu photojournalist. Based in Las Vegas, my images are graphic, bold, and full-on contrast.