You’ve just nailed your headshot photoshoot. Yasss. Your photographer then sent you an online proof gallery. But o-m-g there’s hundreds of photos and they all kinda look the same?
How the hell do I pick the best ones you ask??
Picking the best photos and editing is as much of the process of photography as lighting, composition or direction. Missing the best photos can make or break a shoot.
It can take years to learn how to pick the best photos. And like anything the more you do it, the better you get at it. But there’s a few things you can do to bring you up to speed – ASAP.
We’re inundated with photos everyday. Advertising, social media, print, you name it. But what makes a great photo that stands out and cuts through the noise?
A great photo starts with an emotional connection with the viewer. It makes them feel something. Happy, sad, joy, angry. Anything. Just as long as it triggers an emotional response.
Of course what one person thinks is a great photo might not necessarily be the same for everyone. It’s like art. But there’s areas that can be agreed on by everyone.
Start with the basics if you don’t know where to start. Does the subject have good posture and looks good? Is there a good energy to the photo? Or does the subject look like they are faking something? Are the colours pleasing? Is the lighting flattering?
Some shoots are easier to edit than others. The best photos just jump out at you. Other shoots are harder to unearth the best shots. For those times I use the following process.
I work a lot on instinct when I’m editing and sorting photos. I don’t overthink it and first pass I quickly skim through all the photos, one at a time. I’ll sort them into 1 or 2 stars usually. Kind of a yeah or meh process. I use Capture One for this.
Some of the photos will be easy to weed out. Eyes closed, awkward posture, out of focus etc. Look for the things I touched on before – good energy, great lighting, composition and the subject looks good.
I then transfer all my 1 or 2 star photos into a ‘selects’ folder. The selects folder is then published into a temporary online proof gallery for my clients to make their selections. I use Capture One Live to create the online proof gallery.
A second opinion is handy if you’re choosing photos of yourself. Why? We kinda suck at picking photos of ourselves. All sorts of weird psychological stuff comes into play. Your perception of yourself, your possible self loathing etc. If you have a spare few hours and a cosy couch you can work through it with your therapist, haha.
I’ve even written a blog post on it. Check it out here: Tips for choosing your profile picture backed by science.
And if you can’t get a second opinion, try sleeping on the photos after you’ve made your first cull. When you go back with fresh eyes try as hard as you can to look at the photos the same as a stranger would – objectively without emotion.
If you’re using Capture One Live, you can then add a filter to your 3 starred photos so all other rated photos are filtered out.
You can also choose to show 3 stars AND 4 stars but clicking on the 3 and 4 star filter (shown below).
You’ve narrowed it down to a bunch of maybes, now you need to make the final selections.
Again, if they are photos of yourself, try and look at the photos as objectively as possible.
You know how you might think your eyebrow looks crooked or your smile slightly lopsided? No one is looking at it the same way you are. Trust me when I say this – you might be surprised how little anyone is thinking about you or your crooked eyebrows at all.
What people are looking for? Genuine energy and engagement. This might be the time to phone a friend and get their opinion. If you worked with a photographer, ask which ones they would choose. They are even more qualified than you or your friends to choose.
Another thing to look for? Let’s say you have a photography package and you get 6 photos. Choose photos with a bit of variation between them. I see this a lot, clients might choose 6 photos and 2 or 3 are almost exactly the same, same pose, same expression. Better to choose another one with a different expression, pose or outfit.
And that’s it. If you’re in not so sunny Melbourne, give us a yell. We’d love to hook you up with some killer headshots or personal branding images.
And yes of course, we will help you choose.
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All images and text are the copyright of Myles Formby of Photoform* 2023.