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The Science of Selecting Photos

The business of photography is a complicated matter. I spend hours after each photo shoot culling, processing and sorting the photos to tell the story of the day.

From a recent session of one of my own children, I realized that choosing the final photos can be described as a Venn Diagram! One circle represents images photographers love and the other circle represents images clients love. Some images overlap and some don’t.

To be successful, you want the largest area to be the one that overlaps: images both photographers and clients love. It is important, however, to be aware of what images may fall into the other areas.

Here is an example.

Professional Photographers Venn Diagram by Annie Ta bg

I had a photo shoot of my son just last week. He recently turned 6 years old, so this mini shoot was to capture how he loves reading, loves playing with Legos, and still has hints of having a baby face.

After the shoot, I went through the images as though this was a regular client gallery, but found myself saving a few images that I know would NOT have made it into a client gallery!

That got me thinking.

Are there photos that I’ve left out of a client gallery that should have been in it?

Below are examples of photos from this recent shoot that would make it into a client gallery…

Annie Tao Photography The Science of Selecting Photos article image that would make it into client gallery 2

Annie Tao Photography The Science of Selecting Photos article image that would make it into client gallery 1

Annie Tao Photography The Science of Selecting Photos article image that would make it into client gallery 3

Below are examples of photos that would NOT have made it into a client gallery, but I love…

Annie Tao Photography The Science of Selecting Photos article image that would NOT make it into client gallery 2

Above: he is playing with his hands and arms, which he does when he’s nervous.

Annie Tao Photography The Science of Selecting Photos article image that would NOT make it into client gallery 1

Above: he is chewing gum (I can even see it in his mouth – Oy!), which is his favorite treat.

What does this mean?

Note: I am writing this for Children and Family Photography, but this can apply to any portrait session.

  1. During the session, pay attention to the children’s behavior. What are the little things they do when they’re happy, nervous or excited?
  2. Have an open dialogue with the parents. If they feel comfortable with you, they will share details about what they love or the little quirks that represent their child. It could be something you wouldn’t have guessed.
  3. Remember your client when selecting your final images. Think about what images your clients may like that perhaps didn’t make it into your selection. There may be something you’d want to include in the final images that may bring a tear to their eyes or make them laugh, but isn’t “perfect” in your eyes.

In terms of photo selection, your job as a Photographer is to choose photos that represent your artistic style. You are also a Service Provider whose ultimate goal is to make your clients happy.

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Annie Tao

Annie Tao is a Professional Lifestyle Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area who is best known for capturing genuine smiles, emotions and stories of her subjects. You can visit Annie Tao Photography for more tips or inspiration. Stay connected with her on her Facebook page