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How Your Photographer Chooses Photos for your Gallery

You hear the click of my camera shutter sometimes 1000 times during your photo session. That’s a LOT of photos! So how do I choose which photographs you will receive? I will be the first to admit, that not every photo I take at your session is a winner. So many things come into play, some of it technical, and some of it subjective. I go through 2-3 rounds of culling (i.e. getting rid of photos) for each gallery that I edit. I’m going to give you a run down of each of the criteria I use to determine whether a photo stays or goes.

First, the technical aspects of a photo. Is it in focus? Not every photographer agrees on this, but there is a time and a place for out of focus photos, but I’ll get to that later. Is the photo framed in a way that is pleasing to the eye? Did I accidentally cut off any limbs in an awkward place? I also get rid of all photos where eyes are closed (when they’re not supposed to be), weird faces, and anything that is unflattering.

Second, do I feel something when I look at the photo? If I feel something, whether it’s joy, love, contentment, happiness, etc, if I smile when I see the photo, it’s a keeper. I’m looking for CONNECTION here. If someone in the family is just standing there staring blankly, I toss it, no matter how good the rest of the photo is. So during your photo session think about: “Am I participating?” I will definitely be helping you with this, giving you suggestions and prompts, but you need to come ready to be present with your family.

Third, how’s the lighting? You know from my website and social media channels that I love beautiful light in all its forms. Golden hour is my favorite, but I also love any light that gives that glowy, dreamy feel. Even direct light has a place in your gallery given the right circumstances. Are your faces evenly lit with no harsh shadows? Sometimes, a photo doesn’t work in color, but looks amazing in black and white, so I keep it because removing the color highlights what I want the photo to convey.

Fourth, I focus on MOVEMENT. Wind, the movement of your dress, running children and wild hair all help create emotion in your photographs. I’m not about stiff poses, perfect hair, and standing still. Come ready to have fun!

Fifth, I focus on variety. I’m not going to deliver 5 of the almost exact same photograph. This is tedious for you to try to sift through, and part of my services are to do this for you! If I have a series of 10 similar photos because your family was running in a field playing together, I ask myself, “What’s the best image of the bunch? Which one tells they story I see for your family?” I want your gallery to be filled with unique photos that can stand alone as wall art, as well as be part of a story together in a book or framed grouping on your wall. Because that’s the goal- for you to have photographs in print to display in your home, not sit on a hard drive. I provide a mix of gorgeous landscapes, closeups, details (eyelashes, hair curls, little toes & fingers, embraces, closeness) and finally artistic/cinematic images.

Here's what I’ll say about these so called out-of-focus/cinematic/artistic shots. The deal with me is, I don’t follow the photography rules if I strongly feel that the photo should be included. That is, when I’m clicking through my camera roll, does it make me stop? If yes, then I consider what it would bring to your gallery. The beauty is that each person may not be in exact focus for each photo. I may be focused on one member of your family to highlight them and what they are doing for an artistic look to your images. This brings beauty and creativity to your gallery, shows movement, and gives a cinematic, dreamy feel. There is certainly a time and a place for these types of photos- and I do not do this for the shots where everyone “should” be in focus. I choose my settings carefully for certain effects for each posing set up.

The last thing I ask myself as I look at each photo is “Would I want this photo of my children or family? Is this something my client and their family will cherish forever?”

Lincoln Gap Photography is a Vermont Family Photographer located in the heart of Vermont's Green Mountains in the town of Warren and serves all of Central Vermont including Warren, Waitsfield, Fayston, Moretown, Waterbury, Stowe, Montpelier, Berlin, Barre, Northfield, Richmond, Williston, and the Greater Burlington Area.

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