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After Shoot Image Selection

Ok, so you read the article about Preparing for your Photo Shoot which went through the steps I go through when I complete the most recent one.  Now I’ll share with you the process I use when I’m importing my photos and culling those I no longer want.

When I’m out on a photo shoot I will download all my images to my Macbook Pro which I carry with me out in the field.  During this download I also ensure I have a complete copy on a second drive (same as when I’m back on my main system).

I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for all my image cataloguing and processing.  During the import I will use a template to update the metadata on the images with the following:

  • Image Rank of 1 (by default I assign all images with 1 star out of 5).
  • Copyright status
  • Keywords

After all the images are imported I will perform a first pass of all images and give them a further ranking of 0 to 5.  Zero ranked images are those that I will delete.  Because I have given them a rank of zero doesn’t mean they are gone yet, they simply have a low ranking.  Only when I get back home and have moved the images to my main system will I consider actually physically deleting those images.  Until then I keep them.

During my review I will further rank those good images with a 2 or 3 maximum at this point.  I don’t do any actual image processing at this time as I save that until I’m back working on my main Mac Pro with 30″ monitor.  At that time I will rank the best images with a 4 or 5.


  • 0 – images to be deleted
  • 1 & 2 – Images I keep just because (more for my own personal collection to remember travel locations, etc.)
  • 3 – Images I will post on articles and web postings
  • 4 – Images I will print and sell in Galleries
  • 5 – My best images that I sell in Galleries and demand a higher price.

When I get back to my main system I copy all the images and the catalog and then wait a couple of weeks before I do any further image selection.  I do this because I want to look at each individual image for its technical and artistic merit and to remove as much of the emotion of the occasion when I’m reviewing them.  Too often we’ll get caught up in how exciting the moment was when we were shooting that we overlook whether the image is actually a solid technical and creative image.

During my review a couple weeks later I will then start my image processing (cropping, white balance adjustments, contrast, saturation, etc.) and then further ensure I have all my keywording completed.

With all this done, I will then start selecting images for web presentation and printing.

Rule of Thirds Photography Article End

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