On Culling: Picking the Right Photo


“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then it’s never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” – Don McCullin (1935)

The above quote is perhaps the best teacher of how you should cull photos. Blindly uploading all shots that are half decent or “aren’t bad” results in a stream of average photos with the inspirational ones lost in the avalanche.

Personally, I don’t even upload a photo unless I’ve taken a look at it in Lightroom. Working backwards, I never put a photo into Lightroom unless it has a certain je ne seis quoi that inspires me to do something to it. These may not be technically perfect photos, or even good photos at all. However if you only pick photos that kindles something in you, then you are bound to be choosing the best of the bunch, and more importantly; the photos that speak to you are also the ones that communicate your style and message to others.


A good exercise is to go out for a photo trip, perhaps sunrise and then one or two other locations. You’re bound to get at least a few tens of photos. Now select one from the entire trip. Not only will that be the best photo from the trip, it can also represent the entire experience.

Eventually, your photographic eye will be good enough so that you only take photos that you know will turn out good, and you won’t even have to cull! That’s the dream, right?



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