My Process

How I Choose Final Images {Holly Springs/Raleigh/Durham/Triangle Area Photographer}

I thought it would be neat to let you all in on my process of choosing your final images, so you can be confident that you are getting the best of the best from your session! This is all the legwork I do before any editing even takes place. More or less this is my five step process!


1. Weed out the bad

You know, the ones where someone is blinking or making a weird face, or if an image is the least bit blurry it’s got to go. These shots are trashed before importing to edit.

Asher_FB_Sneak.jpg2. Rate your images

I will quickly go through and rate your images from 1-5, 5 being the best. The only way it gets a 5 is if it captures me immediately and makes me say “wow!”. There are many 4’s so anything under that doesn’t make the cut. So I typically rate from 4-5. 🙂

Shafer_Finals (39 of 41).jpg3. Rate your images again.

This time I spend a bit more time going through and looking for connection between my subjects, I pay close attention to genuine expressions vs. fake expressions , details like hand placement, distractions in the image…you get the point. I just spend some time and really cull through every photo, and re-rate them. (1 of 1)

4. Organize By Pose/Location

This time I’ll go through and look at each pose, pick the best 3-5 out of the bunch, mark them as keepers and stick the others in the ‘maybe pile’ just incase. Once I’m done with this process, I can move on to my final step in choosing the best images to deliver to you!


5. Choosing Final Images

At this point the pictures I have in the 5 pile are all pretty fantastic (IMHO), so the first thing I like to do is compare and eliminate copies. I will spend way too much time trying to do this because I’m a perfectionist and I want to ensure you’re getting the absolute best. It kind of reminds me of my appointments with the eye doctor. A, or B. A…or B… “hmm, could you show me again, they both look the same!” I can’t decide! Then I look closer, and B is just a tiny bit clearer. “B!” He’s over there and his eyes are saying, ‘just pick one already’, but again, 👉🏻perfectionist👈🏻.  My eye doc can vouch for me here…remember him from one of my past blogs? (“Haircuts and Headshots”). You’re laughing now aren’t you Sanjay? 😄 It’s funny cuz it’s true.

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The second thing I like to do while choosing finals is to check for sharp focus. If I have double the amount of pictures I need and they’re all equal in terms of natural and real connections/personalities and expressions, & technicality, I’ll choose the sharpest ones.  The last thing I will do is choose the images that are the most interesting to look at, and eliminate those that don’t grab my attention. And if I have a few extra images left over, I may just throw those in there for you to choose. Sometimes I just can’t make a decision because I don’t want to leave out what may end up being your favorite shot.


You can rest assured that you WILL get the best of the best of the best from your session. I have spent countless hours looking at every image, and every detail & technicality. You can also know that 9 times out of 10 I will choose genuine connection and authenticity over technicalities, because that is what really matters in the end, and those are the images you’ll love the most. Don’t worry, you will get that picture perfect Christmas card picture, or that perfectly posed portrait you’ll hand out to all your friends, but you’ll also get a lot of (beautiful and flattering) natural and authentic pictures that you and yours will enjoy looking at for years to come.

Bass_Lake_Park_Diana_Raw (264 of 470)


Stay tuned for a follow up blog post about my shooting style!

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