Meet today’s Guest Blogger – Denise Levenick. Better known as The Family Curator, I first met Denise at the St. George Family History Expo last March, and soon came to appreciate both her expertise and her practical approach to preserving family memories and memorabilia. Add to that her generous, affable disposition and there you have it – the perfect Guest Blogger! Denise has made it her mission “to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their family treasures.” It is a privilege to welcome her to Above the Trees!
Was your mom like mine, insisting that you include all your siblings or classmates when you played a game or planned a party? Did you really want to cross the class bully’s name off the guest list, but Mom made you include everyone? Take heart! When it comes to creating a first-rate photo collection, “It’s Okay to Play Favorites.”
Professional photographers have to master the business end of taking pictures. This means that photos cannot languish away on memory chips. They have to be uploaded to a computer, sorted, minimally touched-up, and then presented to a client for selection and (hopefully) purchase. Customers also want to see only The Best, after all that’s why they hired a Pro.
When the family photographer begins to think like a Professional, it becomes easier to realize that Playing Favorites is not only Okay, it is necessary to building a quality photo collection. Of course, the family historian has other considerations as well. An out-of-focus or poorly framed shot of Aunt Mildred may be the only photograph of her at all. By all means, this one is a Keeper.
These same techniques are useful if you are working with a shoebox of family prints. Any photo collection will benefit from judicious sorting. As a bonus, your family will come to thank you that the slide show features minutes of fabulous photos instead of hours of marginal memories.
So, your images are in front of you – either in a software program like iPhoto, PS Elements, or Lightroom, or spread out on the dining room table. How do you select The Best?
First, pull together the “Photo Shoot” or set. This would be the Rehearsal Dinner, the Birthday Party, or your walking tour of Paris. From this set of photos you want to choose the best, which also means dumping the worst. Why waste time and effort with bad photos? Some photo programs tempt you to use Star Ratings, but why? As Photo Pro Scott Kelby notes, do you think you will ever want to look at one or two star photos? Those should be the ones that are out of focus or have heads cut off. Even three star photos? The Star selection system is slow; pros would never earn a living if they spent their time deciding if a photo was worth two stars or three stars. If you think you might want the picture some day, there is a way to keep it without inviting it to the party. Read on.
How to Play Favorites with your Photos
1. Assemble Photo Shoot pictures
2. Ignore typical Star Ratings; instead quickly select the Best, reject the Worst. Use stars (or flags) to assign one star Keep and five stars Reject. That’s it; two choices. Keep or Reject. (Using stars or flags allows you to create a group which can be easily selected later.)
3. Can’t decide which of six is the best? Place two similar photos side-by-side (Lightroom2 and PS Elements allow this comparison view.) Choose the best of the two, reject the other. Bring a new photo in to compete with the winner. Audition each photo against the winner. Try to move quickly; don’t let yourself get bogged down in selecting; go with your instinct.
4. Make a New Collection Set and drag all the Keeps into this set. Label it Rehearsal Dinner. (You could call it Rehearsal Dinner Keeps, if you like).
5. Now, you have to make one more decision. If you want to get rid of the bad photos, select the Reject group and Delete. If you just can’t throw them away, make a second New Collection Set and drag all the Rejects into this set. Label it clearly Rehearsal Dinner Rejects. There, you saved them, but no one has to look at them ever again if they don’t want to!
Playing Favorites will eliminate bullies from your photo collection and give you the best and the brightest to work with for your slide show, album, or web page. You may even gain a reputation as the Family Pro Photographer.
For more ideas on organizing, editing, and sharing your photographs, visit The Family Curator.
Further reading –