So many proofs photos, how to choose the best?
When I check back with a client after posting her wedding photos online to ask how the proof selection process is going, I sometimes get a call for help. The client is over whelmed by the having to choose the photos she likes the most for her finished wedding album.
Facing hundreds, a thousand, or more proof photos - if your photographer is a "heavy shooter" - how do you begin to go through all those images and come away with the best?
As an experienced photo editor, I can offer a simple, orderly way to help you select the images.
The proof selection process can be divided into four groups of photos: Preparation photos - photos taken as you were getting ready on the morning of the wedding; Ceremony photos - taken during your wedding ceremony; Group & portrait photos - taken either before or after your ceremony; and Reception photos - taken during your banquet reception.
In order of importance, but not sequence, to your finished album it goes like this: Ceremony, group/portraits, reception, preparation.
To start with, begin choosing photos from one group at a time. Don't be tempted to skip back and forth between ceremony and group photos no matter what. Keep it simple; with a pen and paper write down the file number of each photo you like and if possible, tag it on the online gallery. Don't rely on your memory.
Ceremony photos; choose the ones where your expression is best, your faces are clearly visible and there's a special moment occurring - i.e.: walking up the aisle, the ring exchange, vows, unity candle, especially the kiss and certainly your reaction of joy at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Groups and portraits; to begin with pick the ones with the family and friends that are most important to you - moms, dads, sisters, brothers, etc. Then look at the bridal party groups and choose the ones where all the eyes are looking at the camera and everyone (almost everyone sometimes) has a nice expression. For your portraits choose ones where your faces are both visible, have nice natural expressions, flattering light, you're interacting with each other and your mood is light and happy. An experienced professional photographer will have looked for those moments when photographing, so they should be in the mix.
Reception: This is the easiest. Look for photos of the two of you interacting with each other, your friends and family and have happy joyous expressions on your faces. Both looking into the camera and captured action photos will tell the story. The "introduction" (to the reception) photos can be a blast if you had a crazy bunch of friends in your bridal party - so don't over look these. You had a rollicking reception so there should be plenty to choose from.
Preparation photos: These can be a little harder to select, but you want to choose photos that show you, your bridesmaids and the others around you helping get you ready with your gown, hair, shoes, jewelry...just the little things like that. Plus a photo or two of the lighter moments. Natural moments and expression showing the anticipation will tell the story. And the posed photos with you and mom & dad add to it by showing you with them before the walk up the aisle. You may end up with only four or five of these prep photos in the final album, but that's the average.
Finally, don't be concerned with narrowing down your first edit to the final number of images set for your finished album - you can't do that, it's too difficult. Instead, in each of the four groups, choose all the ones you like - don't keep count. If there's a moment where you see five similar images you like, choose them all.
Then after you've chosen all your favorites, do your second edit. Go back and be more selective by looking for the best facial expressions, moments and light in the photos you've already chosen.
Now do a third edit and begin comparing between the two or three photos of a specific moment - like the ring exchange - to get closer to a final selection.
By doing this three or four edit process, you'll see that you'll end up with only the ones you like the most - where your expression is the nicest and the moment is just right.
If you just can't decide between two or three similar photos from a particular moment, like a portrait or exchange of vows, let your photographer know that you need help choosing the best.
It's OK to spread out this edit process over several sessions and, in fact, it can be helpful to "sleep on it" and take a fresh look at your choices the next day.