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Thread: When to just cull it?

  1. #1
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    Default When to just cull it?

    This must seem like a dumb question, and probably indicative of what the majority of my shots are really like. I spend far too much time trying to improve images and finally coming to the conclusion that I should have culled them from the outset. Are there some tell-tale signs that are a strong indication not to bother with an image that may seem redeemable to the inexperienced eye? If you can help me you will make an old girl very happy.
    Margaret Leggoe
    Never too old to learn.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: When to just cull it?

    Thats a tough one Margaret Its really up to the individual to decide...no hard and fast rules really. There are plenty of shots that I have taken over the years that I was very happy with at the time but now they would go in the delete bin. If the shot represents your best effort with the particular species so far, or perhaps shows some interesting behaviour/aspect of the species then probably best to keep it. If you know you have better, or perhaps could do better, then send it to digital heaven.

    Another thing to remember is that maybe you might learn something in the future (photoshop tricks etc) that might be able to salvage the shot.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: When to just cull it?

    Hi Margaret, I suggest you need to review the images with sharpening enabled. Breezebrowser Pro does a great job of showing the image just about as good as you are going to get it at least from a sharpness/exposure perspective. It is generally regarded as the best windows based browser for image culling. You can also preview up to 4 images with sharpening disabled at 100% which will help better differentiate which image has the best sharpness in the right spots.

    If it looks less than completely sharp in the preview window (with preview in high quality selected) then it is most unlikely you can salvage it. The other tell tale signs are badly blown highlights you can't just crop out and very messy BGs, same with badly under exposed shots, you end up pulling up the noise and noise reduction programs can't work miracles. All providing of course it's not the best of the species so far or otherwise unique in some way. You really need to be quite ruthless, if you can to:

    1. Reduce clutter and make your good shots easier to find and

    2. probably more important improve your photography, if you keep too many that are not the best you end up convincing yourself that your so-so shots really aren't all that bad.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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    Default Re: When to just cull it?

    Thank you both.
    Chris, in DPP I can globally apply settings to all the files in a folder. Since I don't have Breezebrowser, I will give it a try in DPP, cutting out all noise reduction and putting the sharpness setting up high. This is a very significant piece of advice, since I had been doing my preliminary edits with some noise reduction and minimal sharpening in place. Your way makes sense, since it will exaggerate faults I have been unable to detect.
    Once that is done, I can then globally put the settings back to where I want them before commencing PP.
    Another day, another lesson. This is the most learning fun I have had since I went back to uni 18 yrs ago, then a youngster of 52.
    Margaret Leggoe
    Never too old to learn.

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    Default Re: When to just cull it?

    I honestly find that I keep more images than I need to. Sometimes I think I might need them for future reference, or I may see a bird from this unusual angle one day and want to compare to ID. But I never do. I find that from the outset when I put photos on my comp, I delete all the really obvious non-keepers. Then once I've been out a couple more times, I'll go back to it and go through again, and it's amazing how much more you can delete. Then a few months later I do the same thing until I end up with (still more than I should to be honest) a much more limited number of shots that I keep. But at the level of photography I'm at now, I feel that it's easy to cull shots, I know once I improve, it will be harder to pick between two good shots.
    Reposts welcome =)

    Blog- Close Encounters of the Bird Kind. Updated 28/05/2014 "Courting Cuckoos"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: When to just cull it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bec Z
    I honestly find that I keep more images than I need to. Sometimes I think I might need them for future reference, or I may see a bird from this unusual angle one day and want to compare to ID. But I never do. I find that from the outset when I put photos on my comp, I delete all the really obvious non-keepers. Then once I've been out a couple more times, I'll go back to it and go through again, and it's amazing how much more you can delete. Then a few months later I do the same thing until I end up with (still more than I should to be honest) a much more limited number of shots that I keep. But at the level of photography I'm at now, I feel that it's easy to cull shots, I know once I improve, it will be harder to pick between two good shots.
    Agree with Bec.
    I often go back through really old trips and images and do another cull now that i know i have better images of a particular species or just because i look back and see how crap they were!
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS - www.flockwildlife.com

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


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