There was a time, not so long ago, when the number of travel photos you came home with was limited to the amount of film you'd brought on the trip, but with the advent of digital technology it's possible to fill your camera with hundreds, even thousands of images during the course of a vacation. Wading through 500 photographs in an online album can be a challenge for even the most doting of grandparents, so here are some tips for editing down your images to create a compelling photo essay.Editing a photo shoot is a difficult task, even for professional photographers, so set aside a few hours for the job, preferably soon after you return so the details of the trip are still fresh in your mind.
Pick the 10 best: You don't need to choose exactly 10, it can be 5 or 12, but keep the number small and limit your choices to the absolute best images from the trip. How you define best is up to you, but be critical and ask yourself whether the image would stand up well all on it's own.
Create a story: Use the 10 that you've chosen as the basic framework and start filling in around them. Imagine the photographs telling a narrative about your trip — either as it was or how you want to remember it — and pick the images that convey that story best. Stay critical in your selections so that the best shots don't get watered down by too many other images.
Eliminate duplicates: With no limit on the number of photos a digital camera can take, it's easy to end up with many shots that are only slightly different variations on the same subject. Even if all the images turned out great, they start to lose their impact when there are too many. You can always come back and re-edit, but cutting down on similar images will help tell a more powerful visual story.
Check your sequence: More often than not it makes sense to keep your images in chronological order, but within that, you can experiment with how the photos flow from one to the next. Varying portraits with landscapes keeps the sequence interesting, but placing similar images together can also help build a more cohesive narrative.
Take a step back: Look over all your selections and ask if anything is missing or if there are too many images of one part of the trip? Are there so many images that the album is overwhelming, or are there not enough to tell the story of the entire vacation? Edit again if necessary and give yourself plenty of room to change your mind.
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Image: Sarah Rainwater