The Photo You Choose is the Best

by | Digital Photography Tips | 12 comments

Last Friday I mentioned that I’m working on my daughter’s first year album. I’m not quite ready to share how I’m putting it together, but I can relay some wisdom from my process thus far.

She is nine months old today and just yesterday I sent a huge batch of photos from her first 4.5 months off to Persnickety. I culled through over 1000 photos to select less than 100 for her album. Did it take some time? A little, yes. Was it hard? Not at all – and I’ve figured out why.

I had already chosen a few favorite photos to print and frame, but had not selected this large batch for the album. When I sat down to browse the photos, often 10-20 from a given “session” of time, I found myself surprised.

Instead of trying to pick the most technically perfect image with the best smile and glimmering catchlights in her eyes, I simply wanted to print the photo that made me smile the most. I wanted to print the image that flooded me with the best memories of sitting down with my little girl and trying to get her to look at the camera.

One of the wonderful benefits of digital photography is that our images are available, effectively, forever. The freedom to choose this emotionally best image came from the fact that if I like another photo at a later date, I can just print it out. Choosing one image for this album does not lock it in as the only image allowed to represent that moment.

In allowing myself to use gut instinct to select photos and move on, I was able to turn what could have been a challenging process into one I could enjoy and feel good about. By simply making a choice, I made the best choice for me.

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  1. Jan

    Great perspective! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Paula

    Love it. My daughter is now 3 and 1/2 and I’m still culling through her 1 year pictures!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Find ways to just quickly make selections and celebrate the photos. Try not to agonize over whether pose A or pose B is better.

  3. Francine

    I’ll have to remember that. When we went on our cruise in April I ended up with lots and lots of pictures – few of us – but many with wonderful memories. Some I was looking for “best” picture (like of the zip-line on board) and others for memories (like my DH and me on a rock wall on board but only two feet off the platform which we did just for the scavenger hunt.)

  4. Julie Kelley

    I do this every time! I choose instinctively and emotionally, and I never regret my decisions. The process is quick (since it’s based on instinct) and the pictures always make me happy (since they chosen based on emotion). Great post!

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Love that idea of no-regrets scrapbooking!

  5. ConnieM

    Isn’t that the truth~a smile is worth a million words!!! I agree!!!

  6. Sue

    Letting your emotions and instincts lead the way is a great idea, works in a lot of areas. Allowing your physical reaction to be the guide in choosing photos may make the whole process simpler and give a stepping stone to the journaling you use with the photos.
    Great perspective.

  7. Jam Bunks

    I just finished an album from our 30th Anniversary trip. I found myself doing just as you described. Sure, there were some “beautiful” pictures but I really wanted my album to show what a great time I had with my wife & the other couple we were with. This is the first time I’ve done a “major” project like this & while it was a lot of work I can’t say that it wasn’t worth it.
    Thanks for your tips, Jim

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Congrats on completing your album project!

  8. Debbi

    As an older scrapbooker and family photographer, I wanted to validate your comments. When I look through photos of my children which were made 25-35 years ago, my favorites are not the ones with the perfect lighting, the perfect pose, etc. In fact anyone who knew anything about photography would probably have tossed them out, but they tugged at my heartstrings so strongly that I could not get rid of them. These are the photos you will still cherish 20, 30, even 40 years from now. Scrapbook them.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Great additional perspective Debbie, thanks!



  1. Capturing the Story with Photos - Simple Scrapper - […] How to Select Photos for Printing […]

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