Skip navigation

Every now and then I get a message like this – ” ‘Someone’ shared 546 photos with you “. I am torn. On one hand, I really want to see what this person considers so special that s/he posts this many photographs of. On the other hand, I, being a reasonably busy person, also know that it is going to take a fair amount of time wading through all of them. And when was the last time you finished an album saying “that was so much fun, I wish I could see the 547th photo”. Yep. Never.

Anyway, I usually go ahead and click through them. Then I find many of them to be the same thing/place at different angles. Worse, many of them are blurry. I am now pissed. This person posted 546 photos not because they were interested in something, but because they were too lazy to even select the good ones before sharing it with me. If the person was this lazy, should I not return the favor?

The easiest way to show people that you take good photographs is to simply not show them every frame that comes out of your camera. To appreciate a photograph, the viewer needs to make some sort of emotional connection to it. It is very hard, if not impossible, to make such connections with a huge number of pictures in one set. But how do you know how many is too many? Here are some unofficial ‘rules’ I follow when I have to share photos, and what I like to see shared from others –

1. Open your (let’s say) 500 photographs in a ‘gallery’ mode (showing large thumbnails) in iPhoto or Windows Explorer or Lightroom.

2. Look for the ones that jump out at you from the image gallery. These are probably the ones with the simplest composition (which also tells you a lot about good composition!). Mark them, either with stars (say, 3 out of 5), or copy/ paste them into another folder. Call this new folder Share1. This should have around 100 or fewer photos.

3. Look at the photos individually. Delete the blurry ones (yes, ALL the blurry ones!).

4. Find a few photos that are really, really special to you. Some of them that you think would look much better with some post-processing work (brightness, cropping, converting to black and white etc.). Select these and mark them with one more star (4 out of 5), or copy/paste them in another folder called Share2. This should be around 10 or fewer photos. You will not be sharing these right now.

5. Go back to the 3 starred photos (folder Share1). For each activity or place, choose at most 2 or 3 photos that look the best to you. Preferably at different zoom levels, or from different angles. For the rest of the photos, reduce the number of stars to 2 (or delete them from the Share1 folder). You should now be left with around 30-40 photographs. Arrange them in a logical sequence. The order in which they were taken is a good arrangement.

6. Go back to the main folder with all your photographs from this set/ event (500 or more), and look at photos that can link sets of events represented in Step 5 (Share 1). This may be a sign at that place, or something memorable at an airport during transit, or similar. Basically it doesn’t have to be a compelling photo by itself, but should mean something when taken in context with the preceding and succeeding photograph. Give these 3 stars as well, or copy/paste into folder Share1.

7. Arrange all the recent photos in Share1 at their appropriate place. From 500 photos, you should now be down to less than 50! It would be nice if you could write out a descriptive title for each of them, but if you can’t, just write titles for the ‘connecting’ photos you just imported from Step 6.

8. Share! Remember your privacy settings on Facebook and your copyright settings on Flickr!

The point of separating out a few pictures from Step 4 is so that they do not lose their identity in the gallery of photos you just uploaded. Try to improve these photos by post-processing- like experimenting with contrasts, sepia or black and white. Then share them at a later point, one at a time. This way, people who see it have an opportunity of making the same emotional connection to the photographs like you do.