Editing a Photo Collection

For the last few weeks it appears I have been doing nothing but editing photos! But first, let me define what I mean by ‘editing’. What is it you thought of when you read the title to this post?

  • Using Lightroom or similar editing software
  • Photoshop
  • Using a darkroom (v. old school!)
  • Other

If your choice was ‘other’, then full marks to you! When I refer to editing photos, I mean going through our archives and selecting only the best images. There are many reasons you may wish to do this, which include photo books, competitions, upgrading social media feeds, or writing an article. For this blog post I have chosen some of the photos for an article I’m preparing on the Central Flower Market in Bangalore, locally known as KR Market.

View From Above

What does Magnum say?

In ‘The Art of Street Photography’, Martin Parr demonstrates his method for choosing the best images from a photoshoot. His process involves an initial selection carried out digitally, then a final filter done once the photos have been printed. Martin Parr’s method of editing aligns closely with Alec Webb’s process. Alec Webb explains the process in a little more detail, and he suggests printing the images and living with them for longer before making the final choice, a term I have previously referred to a marinading.


Printing photos regularly is something I would like to do more often, but time and money make me reluctant to head down this path. However, Alec Webb argues that a low res printout does the job and can provide enough to get a feeling for an image, so my opinion on this may change. If photography ever became my primary source of income, I would certainly take this route more often.

Fruit Man

Editing in Lightroom

Lightroom has a number of tools that can be used for editing your photos. When I am up to my knees in images I use the following methods.

  • Flags – I use these to select the best and the worst images. The best images are selected for editing in Lightroom, while the rejects get trashed.
  • Stars – Lightroom allows you to rate your images using a 5 star system. If I give a photograph 5 stars it is a definite keeper and I will publish it somewhere, plus I feel it is worthy of a competition entry. Four stars means it is a keeper and will be published somewhere, even if just on Instagram. Three stars indicates a maybe, it might go on Instagram. I do not give anything one or two stars, so maybe I should adapt my system!
  • Keywords – I use these, but not consistently. Note to self,’improve on this area‘. I know other photographers who are brilliant at maximising the use of keywords.
  • Collections – this is rapidly becoming my favourite tool for organising photos. Head to the left of the screen, open a new collection and give it an appropriate title. Stick all your images you want to stay together in the same folder. You can have as many collection folders as you need.
  • Deleting – as camera files get larger, photo collections start to take up a greater amount of disk space. Also, if you don’t delete your unwanted images, the gems are harder to find! We should regularly go through our archives and get rid of the trash photos (and if you are a Street Photographer, there will be lots of them!).
Happy Worker

This is not a comprehensive list, but it does include the methods that have become part of my everyday workflow. While my sorting methods are not perfect, they are becoming more refined. What methods do you use, particularly if you don’t use Lightroom? As always comment below and share your ideas!

If you would like to see the final selection of photos chosen for the flower market, I have created a new page that can be accessed HERE. Lastly, I did say this site was moving, and it is, just not very quickly… In the meantime, if you enjoy reading this blog you could skip to the bottom of this page where you will find an option to buy me a coffee. This will help with keep this blog alive and active.

Keep Clicking, Chris

If you enjoy following this blog, you now have the option to BUY ME A COFFEE. This will help to pay for the yearly subscription fees (and coffee)!

2 Comments on “Editing a Photo Collection

  1. Good discussion, good topic. I need more of a system. This has me thinking.


  2. I don’t use Lightroom. Mainly because of the subscription method of paying for it. I think it’s overpriced. I use a program called Acdsee Photo Studio which I think is just as good at a fraction of the price. The process of selection is very much the same as using Lightroom with the use of flags and stars for selection. Like you Chris, I like to let photos marinade as I’m usually not that happy with photos just after taking them. It’s good to let the emotional connection with a photo too mellow out before being critical about it. Great photos on your final selection in the flower market though!


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