Updated: October 21, 2018 | Contains affiliate links

How to select your best pictures


Selecting the best pictures from a set of digital pictures is one of the most common tasks for a digital photographer. This used to be the case even during the film era. Sometimes you would just print one copy of each picture in a roll of film and then you would physically select the best pictures to put in your photo album. The rest would end up in some envelope in a shoebox that would start collecting dust. Well, this happens in the digital world as well, except for…the dust. But how do you select your best pictures efficiently in a digital world?

If you’re using tags for organizing your pictures, selecting pictures is easy

If you have the ability to add tags to your digital pictures you can easily add words indicating some sort of rating for each picture. You can add tags like: selected, best, loveit or something else. The key here is to be consistent; once you choose a word, stick to it. Once you add the tag you can easily filter the “selected” pictures from a group of pictures.

When I use tags I don’t really use words that indicate selection, but rather tags that indicate purpose. For example if I took a bunch of pictures of my kids at the park and I only like ten of them, I ask the question why do I like these pictures? What am I going to do with them? So, I create tags like: print, web, email. I only print pictures with my family, but I take a lot of pictures of buildings and tourist attractions that I share on my travel blog (See my travel blog). Having tags for different purposes really helps me filter the pictures I’m looking for.

If you’re using only folders for organizing your pictures, you have a few options for selecting your pictures.

Folders are still easier to use than tags and most people still use folders exclusively to organize their pictures. So how do you select your favorite pictures from a set of photographs? If you’re using folders and you’ve been reading my blog, you most likely have a folder structure something like this:

My Pictures
	  selected (containing the best pictures from this birthday visit to Disneyland.)

Here are all the options for getting the best pictures selected with folders.

  1. You look at some large thumbnails of all your pictures, you hold CTRL (on PC) key down and with your left mouse button you start selecting the “best” pictures. When you’re done selecting all the ones you’re interested in, you do CTRL+C (to copy) then you move to the selected folder and do a CTRL+V (paste) to place a copy of the “best” pictures selected in the original folder. Then you do some more selecting in the “selected” folder. This is probably the easiest and quickest way to select your pictures. It’s a simple copy and paste operation.

    The main idea here is to leave your original pictures alone in the parent folder and only work with copies. This works if you don’t care about space and having duplicate pictures for each set of pictures you take.

    Advantage: fast and easy.
    Disadvantage: the only drawback is that you create duplicate images.

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  2. Another simple options would be to cut and paste instead of copying and pasting into the selected folder. This way you have the best pictures only in the selected folder instead of having them in two folders: the original folder and the selected folder.

    Advantage: fast and easy.
    Disadvantage: you would have your original pictures split in two different folders and if you need pictures for another purpose like web sharing for example and you need pictures from both folders, well you just have to look in two separate folders.

  3. The third option is to rename the selected pictures. I recommend adding a word in front of each selected picture so that a simple refresh of the folder will cluster all the selected pictures together. In addition, if you add a word that starts with the letter “a” or a number so that your selected pictures will show up on the very top.
    My Pictures

    Adding 00 in front of the selected images will cluster them to the top. This is a convenient way to have all the selected images show up together. Now you can move them to a separate folder if you so choose.

    Advantage: No duplicate images are being created and copied to another folder.
    Disadvantage: You have to rename the selected pictures which will take some time.

  4. How do you select your favorite pictures?

    I think I got all the possible options here…but maybe not. How do you select your favorite pictures from a set? Do you have some helpful tips that you would like to share? Please feel free to add comments below.

Essentials for organizing your digital photos

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Excellent Lightroom alternative. If you need a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Photo Studio Professional for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing all my media. It has a very fast browser, great image editing and it's simple to use.

If you do a lot of image editing like I do, I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has best photo editing capabilities even though it has a steeper learning curve. Adobe Lightroom is my favorite for image editing.

I recommend Backblaze Personal Cloud Backup for affordable & reliable unlimited cloud backup. I have been using Backblaze for backing up all pictures & videos for more than 5 years now. All my invaluable digital memories are safe and secure. This is the best solution especially if you have a large quantity of media files.

Use a reliable & affordable external hard drive for backing up everything on your computer. It is absolutely essential for keeping all your memories backed up and safe.

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