Too Many Photos. How to Select Good Ones from Hundreds.

I went to an event and took over 500 photo. I had to delete the bad ones. Here’s how I did it.

My first attempt was too slow and difficult. I looked at each image, and asked “is this okay?” It took a long time, and was exhausting.

Eventually, I figured out that I could use the one-question technique.

My photos were from a public protest.

I should have initially subdivided it into “sub-events” that I wanted to document, but didn’t do that.

Here were my questions:

  1. Is the main subject’s sign folded up by the wind? (Yes = delete)
  2. Is the main subject’s eyes closed, or are they smirking or looking “wild”?
  3. Is a sign held super-crooked, or overexposed so it’s not legible?

Each question was applied across the entire set of photos, and the “yes” were trashed.

The end result was around 330 photos of 540+ were left.

The remaining photos all look “okay”, but so many are similar.

Then there are some questions that might require deletion:

  1. Are most of the people looking down at their phones?
  2. Is the person toward the center looking away so you see the back of their head?
  3. Are there any weirdly contorted looking limbs, or weird postures, or weird positioning of hands, or bulgy, or leaning weird?

I didn’t go through the entire set for these questions. Instead, I browsed over sets of similar photos, and then used these filters.

I’m in the middle of this, and I’m at 196 photos left. I need try a different strategy.

Having too many photos is a hassle. I wish I took half as many. I should have said I would take ten shots of each person, and that’s it.

Instead of just working on the whole thing, I subdivided the set into similar photos. Then I set a goal of ten photos per portion of the event (if that portion has more than ten photos).

Work in progress. Each subset is an album.

Then, I applied the rules to the photos, a little more critically. I missed the goal of ten per set, but, still managed to reduce the total photo count a lot.

This time around, I also did “a/b testing” or “tournament”. I went through similar photos, and looked at two of them. Trashed the one that was worse. Repeat until you’re down to two or three photos of that moment.

Deleting the photos from within a subset will delete it throughout the system, and it will be gone from the event’s album as well.

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