How to Look Like a Better Photographer, Instantly

Moe the Dog, a big black Labrador mix (Photo: Kim Olson)

Moe the Dog, a big black Labrador mix

We’ve probably all had to endure it at one time or another, and if not, know someone who has.

We sit there patiently and try to listen politely. Our attention is fixed on our host at first, but it doesn’t take long before the minutes turn to hours and the hours to turn, well, not exactly days, but sometimes it sure seems like it.

What exactly am I talking about…?

The Dreaded Vacation Slideshow

Nowadays we probably aren’t sitting in someone’s living room waiting for the photographer to set up their slideshows. Today we’re more likely to come across a new gallery of photos posted to the aspiring photographer’s Facebook page.

We may initially be intrigued and start flipping through the photos and then, after clicking “Next” about 100 times (if we last that long) realize there’s still 467 more images to go. Um, overkill? I think so.

Moe's face stuck through a ring dog's toy. (Photo: Kim Olson)

Moe’s head stuck in his toy. Silly dog.

Please Please Please, Cull Cull Cull

I can’t stress how important it is for you to learn how to cull, or sort through, your images. Paring down is essential to good photography.

No one (not even yourself) wants to look at 54 shots of the Same. Exact. Thing.

Yes, your baby is cute and yes, your new puppy is the most adorable furball ever to set foot on this earth, but let’s not overdo it.

Start by learning to group all similar photos of your subject. Say you took 15 of your family standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. Go through and compare them to each other, looking for sharpness, good expressions and composition, and pick the BEST ONE (or 2 – possibly 3). I can almost assure you it’s not all 15.

Do this ruthlessly.

Go through your hundreds or thousands of photos and cut them down. Do yourself (and us!) a favor by getting rid of the junk before sharing.

Dog licking his chops, ready for his peanut butter treat. (Photo: Kim Olson)

Moe’s ready for the peanut butter treat!

How to Eliminate

Here’s a quick rundown of how I go through my images after I go out and shoot a ton of photos.

  1. Toss the obviously crappy ones. It’s really okay to throw away the blurry, accidental photos that look bad. (Or if you want to keep them, just stash them away so other people don’t have to look at them, too.)
  2. Compare similar photos to each other and keep the Best One(s). You’ll no doubt have series of images that look like each other. Pick the best of the bunch.
  3. Share only the Best One(s). Now you should have a much smaller group of photos that are your favorites. These photos are the ones you want to put out into the world.

Voilà! You Look Like a Better Photographer, Instantly

It’s totally fine to shoot like crazy and take a bunch of images, but by simply paring them down and only sharing the best ones, you’ll like the fabulous photographer we all know you are (or aspire to be :).

It’s true that every single one of us takes crappy photos along with good ones, but your friends and family don’t need to know that (and don’t really want to see them, either).

Now, instead of sharing all 467 images from your trip, you may be sharing only 46. That’s a much easier number of photos to digest and your friends and family may actually thank you for sharing.

Moe the black dog and his fluffly sister, Lily (Photo: Kim Olson)

Moe and his sister, Lily, hanging out in the backyard.

Share Your Best Work

Pretty much everyone likes to look at photos, but we can get photo fatigue. So if you follow these simple steps and only share your favorite images, you’ll come out on top.

Of course there are no shortcuts to better photography and there’s no substitute for practice. But just remember, less is better and


Cull Ruthlessly, Then Share Freely

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