Selecting the Best Photos

Title: Efficiently Selecting the Best Photos from An Event

Capturing many photos at an event is easy; the challenge comes when you need to sort through them to find the best ones. With a few systematic steps, you can streamline the selection process, allowing you to effectively highlight the event's key moments.

Step 1: Gather All Your Photos in One Place

Transfer all your event photos to one folder on your computer. This consolidates your workspace, making it simpler to navigate through the images. Programs like Adobe Lightroom or basic computer folders can serve this purpose well.

Step 2: First Glance Deletion

Begin your first pass through the photos, quickly deleting any that are obviously unusable—these include blurry shots, overexposed or underexposed images, and photos where subjects may be making undesirable expressions or are caught in awkward positions. Be decisive, but if you're unsure, keep the photo for now.

Step 3: Rating and Tagging

After cleaning out the unusable photos, rate the remaining ones. Most photo management software offers a rating system (like 1 to 5 stars) or tagging feature. Give a three-star (or equivalent) rating to any photo you feel captures an important moment, emotion, or tells part of the event's story. Tags can help you categorize photos further—use terms that relate to emotions, types of shots (like "speeches," "candid"), or key moments ("award presentation").

Step 4: Narrowing Down

Focus on your three-star-rated photos. Examine them more closely and upgrade to four stars those that stand out due to their strong composition, emotional impact, or how well they represent the event's atmosphere. These might be photos with compelling expressions, dynamic action shots, or ones that effectively capture the lighting and setting.

Step 5: Final Selection

For the last round of selection, compare your four-star photos. Evaluate them against each other for impact and importance. The aim here is to end up with a collection that succinctly but effectively captures the essence of the event. Elevate these final choices to a five-star rating.

Step 6: Edit for Uniformity

With your top-tier photos selected, make any necessary edits for consistency. This includes adjusting exposure, contrast, and color temperature to ensure your selection looks cohesive.

Step 7: Final Review

Do one last review of your finalized set. Ensure each image is at its best and aligns with the story of the event you want to tell. This step guarantees that your selection is strong and that each photo contributes to the narrative.

Throughout this process, focus on the event's story and prioritize photos that best capture the happenings and emotions. By following these steps methodically, you start with a broad pool of photos and gradually refine it to the best of the best, making your selection task more manageable and your final photo set more impactful.

A professional photographer selecting and editing conference photos on a computer

Adjustments and Corrections

After following the initial steps to select and organize your event photos, it's time to fine-tune those images to enhance their quality. Improving event photos is an essential step in the editing process to ensure your pictures look their best and accurately convey the atmosphere of the event.

Step 8: Adjust Lighting and Exposure

Lighting can greatly impact the mood and quality of your photos. Adjust the exposure to ensure that your images are neither too dark nor too bright. If some areas require adjustments, use the Shadows and Highlights sliders to balance the lighting. Be careful not to overexpose; maintain a natural look.

Step 9: Correct White Balance

The white balance affects the color temperature of your photo. The camera's automatic setting can sometimes misinterpret the lighting condition, resulting in photos with a blue or yellow tint. By adjusting the white balance, you can bring the colors back to how they looked in real life, or creatively alter them to set a different mood.

Step 10: Enhance Colors

Amplifying the colors can make your photos more vibrant and engaging. Boost the saturation slightly for a more vivid look, but avoid overdoing it to keep the photo looking natural. Adjusting Vibrance can also be effective, as it amplifies the more muted colors without affecting skin tones and saturated colors too much.

Step 11: Apply Sharpness

Sharpening your photos can make them look more detailed and crisp, but it should be one of the last adjustments you make. Apply just enough sharpening to make details stand out, but be cautious of creating a harsh or grainy appearance. The goal is to enhance what's there, not to introduce noise.

Step 12: Crop for Impact

Cropping can greatly improve the composition of your photo or bring attention to the main subject. Crop out any distracting elements or unnecessary space, but ensure that your crop follows good compositional guidelines, like the rule of thirds, for a balanced and appealing photo.

Step 13: Removal of Distractions

Even well-composed shots can have distracting elements—stray arms in group photos, unwanted exit signs, or other interruptions. Use healing tools or cloning features to remove these elements. Keep the viewer's focus on the event's highlights and emotions.

Step 14: Saving Properly

Once you're satisfied with your enhancements, save your edited photos in a high-quality format like JPEG or TIFF. Consider creating copies in different resolutions for various uses, such as posting on social media, printing, or archiving.

Remember, enhancing event photos should aim to bring out the best in your images while keeping them looking authentic. Always start with subtle adjustments and incrementally improve from there. Through practice and experience, you'll develop an eye for what adjustments work best for a given set of photos, ensuring every event you capture is remembered as it was experienced.

A professional photographer editing event photos on a computer screen

Creative Editing Techniques

Step 8: Get Creative with Effects and Filters

Once you've polished your photos with basic editings like lighting, exposure, and colors, you can consider adding some creative effects. You can enhance the mood of your photos by experimenting with effects and filters.

Step 9: Experiment with Black and White

Not every picture must remain in color. Converting an image to black and white can create a striking visual effect. This technique works well on shots where the lighting, shadows, and textures are particularly compelling. It can effectively highlight the emotion and drama of the moment.

Step 10: Use Blurs for Dynamic Effect

Want to add motion or focus to your images? Try the blur effect. A subtle blur around the edges can draw attention to the centerpiece of your photo, like a speaker at an event or a bride tossing her bouquet. Or, create a sense of movement by selectively blurring backgrounds.

Step 11: Add Vignettes for Focus

A vignette, or darkening the borders of your photo, can subtly direct the viewer's eyes to the central subject. Use vignettes sparingly – too much can feel heavy-handed, but the right amount can add depth and emphasis to your focal point.

Step 12: Try a Vintage Look for Timeless Charm

Applying a vintage filter can give your photos a nostalgic feel. This works well for events with a historical or retro theme. A touch of grain, muted colors, or a sepia tone can evoke a sense of warmth and reminiscence.

Step 13: Use Special Effects for Added Flair

If you want to get more creative, explore special effects. Consider adding light leaks for an airy feel or a splash of lens flare to mimic sunlight. These effects can add intrigue to your photos, making them more eye-catching.

Step 14: Layer Textures for Depth

Adding textures can provide richness to your images. Imagine a subtle overlay of fabric texture on a wedding photo or gritty textures on an urban event shot. It's about creating visual interest and depth.

Step 15: Develop a Signature Style

As you explore these creative techniques, aim to develop a signature editing style that reflects your personal taste or brand. Consistency in how you edit your event photos can make your work distinctive and recognizable.

By following these steps, your event photos will not only look polished and professional but will also carry a creative touch that makes them uniquely yours.

A professionally edited conference photo with creative effects and filters
  1. Baboo N, Fried L, Walker J, Bitton A, Hirschhorn L. Mobile health (mHealth) and the management of chronic conditions in sub-saharan Africa: a review of the literature. BMC Health Services Research. 2021;21(1):1-12.
  2. Ting DSW, Carin L, Dzau V, Wong TY. Digital technology and COVID-19. Nature Medicine. 2020;26(4):459-461.
  3. Torous J, Myrick KJ, Rauseo-Ricupero N, Firth J. Digital mental health and COVID-19: using technology today to accelerate the curve on access and quality tomorrow. JMIR Mental Health. 2020;7(3):e18848.