Selecting Your Best Photos

My process of selecting your best photos involves looking for only the best photos, not investing your valuable time with rejects. The process is simple: use the Malcolm Gladwell “Blink” method. Essentially, this is about making quick choices based on instinct and flagging those photos that catch our attention and I do this in a couple of passes.

Selecting Your Best Photos: The First Pass

  • Select the folder you want to review.
  • Tap G key once for the Grid View.
  • Use the + or – key to adjust the size of the thumbnails.
  • Press the right arrow key to walk through your photos. Tap the left arrow key to go backwards.
  • Look for images that immediately catch your attention without spending time on deliberating if you like it or not. Let your instincts take over. Essentially, this is the “Blink” method.
    • If you need a closer look at an image, tap the spacebar for a full screen Loupe View. Tap G to return to Grid View.
  • Tap the P key, when a photo immediately catches your eye as good. This is the “Blink” method. Tapping the P key puts a white flag in the top left corner of the photo. Don’t try to be too choosey on your first pass, you’ll look for great on the second pass.
  • Finish reviewing all the photos in your folder.

You’ve flagged your best photos, now what?

Selecting Your Best Photos: The Second Pass

  • Turn on your flagged ratings filter. This will show only the Flagged images in your folder.
  • Repeat the “Blink” method reviewing your Flagged images tapping the Spacebar to view the photos in Loupe View and tap the Right arrow key to walk through the photos.
  • This time around, tap the 8 key for selecting your best photos to mark them with Green.
  • Finish reviewing all the photos in your folder.
  • Turn on the flagged ratings filter and add Green to your filtering. This will now show only the Flagged and Green images in your selected folder.
  • Select All
  • Create a Collection
    • Collections are the perfect place to keep your best shots. It places thumbnails of your selected photos into the Collection you’ve created without moving them from their original location. When you want to develop, make slide shows, prints of books you won’t have to look at all your rejects.
    • There’s more info here from Adobe’s Julieanne Kost: Tips and Shortcuts for Working with Collections in Lightroom Classic.

The video below demonstrates this process. Stop the video with the pause button to view the different screens as I go through the steps.

How to Select Your Best Photos from Slides

Thinking of Using a Light Box? Don’t Do It!!!

Examining the content of slides, one-by-one, using a light box is time consuming, awkward and slow. You’ll need a magnifier or a loupe in order to see what’s in the photo. I spent decades looking at slides this way. It’s too much work.

Use a Slide Projector!

Consider this approach your first pass. This will save you time and money.

I recommend using a slide projector to get big, juicy enlargements of your slides. Get a used slide projector and stack loader from eBay and just use the most convenient white wall. This will make looking through thousands of slides a pleasure. When you hit a stretch of boring images, just “fast forward” only pulling out the ones to scan. After receiving the scanned slides, then you make your second pass using Lightroom. Here’s where you decide on your final selections, the ones that go into a collection, album or printed book.

Selecting Your Best Photos from Slides

You can find good used Kodak slide projectors and stack loaders on eBay.

As you pull the slides for your first pass, write some basic info on the cardboard mount and place them in a separate box for scanning. you don’t want to be going through your slides again to figure out what’s what.

Selecting Your Best Photos

Be sure to identify your slides!