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A Photographer’s Dilemma

Possibly the best dilemma a photographer can have, is narrowing down a fabulous shoot to a manageable chunk of images.  When working with clients, I like to present them with 40-50 excellent shots – all suitable for large scale framing.  Several dozen images, all that they can be proud to display anywhere in their home, office, or personal gallery.  I never have a problem coming up with that many.  Even in the most difficult of shoots I can easily find four dozen beautiful images.

In an hour long shoot, I typically take 200-350 images.  Not every photographer shoots as much as I do, and some shoot several times that amount.  It’s a personal thing.

When I sit down to begin “adjustmenting”, I first take a quick pass through all of the shots.  A quick, couple second each, pass through the entire photoshoot.  I then go back to the beginning, and begin my first purge.

During the initial purge, I delete any images that strike me instantly as a NO.  What makes it a NO varies greatly.  Whatever it is, it’s a NO.  Not even worth a second look.

I’m usually then left with about 10o images that are all worth looking at more seriously.  And that’s when my, very critical, eye really begins to work.  I flip back and forth between similar images, sometimes several times a second.  I pull a loupe (the round magnifier) and examine expression lines.  I go forward and backwards, forwards and then back several more.  And I don’t like to be interrupted.  This is, for me, the most serious part of the job.  It’s about the potential each of these images has to be more, to say more, to create more, to inspire more.  And only the best will pass this second purge.

From this, I end up with my 40 to 50 final shots.  And this is when I begin my edits, adjustments, and enhancements.  This is when I begin to have fun again.

I love my work.  I find it joyous.  But I also take it very seriously.

Today?  Today I have the best possible kind of photographer’s dilemma.  Today, my initial purge took me from just under 350, to 182.  182.  A gorgeous couple, and they feel for one another just leaps off their faces.  I’ve now gone through three purges, and am still hovering around 100 images.  Time to purge again…  and be HARSH.  I need to cut this baby down another half.  It will break my heart deleting some of these shots, but only the VERY best are worth the time I spend on adjustments.

I spend several hours working through a session after the purges.  And so far, just the purges have taken a number of hours.  LOL  But, like I said before…  too many excellent images?  That’s the kind of dilemma every photographer LOVES to have.

Jen, I’m determined to get your shoot completed, burned, and ready for your Grandmother’s 102nd birthday.  Wish me luck.  😉

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