Reviewing My Photos

I sometimes wonder how many good pictures I’ve taken and not noticed since I’ve moved to digital. In the old days, working on film I contact printed everything – including eventually colour as well as black and white, and the contacts went into a file. It was easy to sit down and leaf through these files, and when I went back to find a particular image I often be glancing through the pages in search of it and see other frames that looked interesting and mark those up for printing too.

Then came digital, and I tend to take a quick look through the whole set of images and select those I think worth processing further, and sometimes that’s it. Anything that doesn’t strike me on that initial look may never be seen again, although it may still be on my disk or in my backup.

I try always to go back and take a second look, but it is easy to forget, and when I’ve taken a large number of pictures it is certainly easy to miss things. So this morning when I had a little time and nothing absolutely urgent to do I went through the whole  set of pictures from the last of the three days of student protests.

Mostly what I found were simple alternative takes of images I’d previously developed and already put on My London Diary. A couple might have been better than the ones that I’d actually used, but there wasn’t a great deal in it. But there was one which I’d missed completely.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

It’s a picture I rather like of some of the students dancing in Parliament Square, and I took a dozen or so frames of this group, but almost all with the camera in portrait format. This was one of them, but the subject just didn’t fit the upright frame, with not much happening in the shadows at the bottom and too much blue sky on top.  Cropped to landscape in the normal 1.5:1 format I work in doesn’t quite work, and the image above is roughly 1.38:1, noticeably squarer. I usually like to get the framing correct in camera, but it isn’t always possible, and in this case the moment was just that and had gone by the time I took the next frame almost immediately afterwards.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

There were a few other things that I found that perhaps seemed more significant after I’d had time to consider the event more fully, for example the images showing the large padded placard book covers.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

As well as finding a few from early on in the march, I also found a few more of them in use against the police barricade in Parliament Square, although I hadn’t really been able to get into a good position.

© 2010, Peter Marshall

It was also a chance to prune the hopeless images from the event from my hard disk, flagging them as rejected by pressing the ‘x’ key in Lightroom as I went through the images and then using the menu at the end of the process to delete the whole lot. It’s a faster method than deleting them one by one as you go through.

One thing I find slightly annoying is that I can’t find a simple keystroke to ‘unflag’ a rejected image. I’d prefer it if the ‘x’ key acted as a toggle rather than having to use the mouse and menus to do so. Perhaps there is a reason for this, but I can’t see it.

Tagging images with a colour tag does toggle on/off in this way, whereas giving them a star rating doesn’t. So I could use a colour tag to select images for mass deletion as an alternative.

4 Responses to “Reviewing My Photos”

  1. bahi says:

    Hi, Peter. You can use the U key to unflag — it removes both types of flags, though. Or just “Flag as pick” by hitting “P”.

    Although none of the flags act as toggles, there is a “toggle flag” shortcut, which is the backtick (grave accent) key, which will switch from one flag status to the next, in turn — flagged, unflagged, rejected, then flagged again, etc.

  2. Hi, that’s great, very useful.

    There are just so many little things in Lightroom that I keep finding out or people like you tell me. But there is a limit to how much I can keep in my mind

    I seldom seem to have much joy finding out things from the ‘Help’ somehow. I think programs used to have better help than they do now.

    The ‘backtick’ key on my keyboard seems to work as a toggle for the pick flag, though it does also replace rejected by pick, but it won’t go back to rejected.

  3. But what I meant to say was that it would be easier if they did work as toggles. I’d just been using the menu where it does list the shortcuts you mention, but I think I was too busy swearing at it not toggling to notice them!

  4. bahi says:

    I checked and you’re right about the backtick — it only toggles between picked and unflagged. And yes, I could see that toggles would be good.

    My copy of Aperture 3 came with a concertina book of shortcuts printed on card. My copy of Lightroom didn’t — it would make a useful addition. (We’ve been meaning to design and produce our own but haven’t done it yet.) I just noticed that the U shortcut isn’t on the official shortcut pages in the help menu. Not helpful. Every time I read the official online page of shortcuts, I learn new things but forget most of them promptly…

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