When you’re a landscape photographer, it goes without saying that you’re going to face your share of tedious, time-consuming tasks. One of the most daunting for a lot of us is the process of sorting through the multitude of shots from a given day on location and figuring out which ones are actually the keepers. It’s possible to spend hours agonizing over shots that can be frustratingly similar to one another. Here are a few helpful tips to make the process as easy as possible.

  1. Don’t Let Photos Pile Up

One of the best ways to keep the task of sorting through photos manageable is to avoid letting things pile up. Definitely make sure you don’t let images from multiple shoots pile up in a single “unsorted” folder because it won’t take long at all for things to get out of hand. Instead, make it a point to sort through shots from each outing as soon as you’re back. The more shots you tend to take while out on location, the more critical timely sorting becomes.

  1. Toss Low Quality Shots First

Even the best of us will wind up with several blurry shots or dark shots that are clearly not salvageable at all. Get rid of those first to make the main job more manageable. If necessary, there are software options that can help you identify and delete such shots.

  1. Pinpoint Distractions

Next, you’ll want to zero in on shots that have distracting elements in them that take away from the rest of the shot. It could be something like a power line, a random person you didn’t realize was in the shot, and so forth. Decide whether or not any of these shots are worth salvaging with editing software and toss the ones that aren’t.

  1. Analyze Shots That Are Similar

Once you’ve eliminated the shots that are clearly not salvageable in any way, sort shots that are similar into subgroups and analyze each separately. The best shots aren’t just going to be the shots that are the clearest, the sharpest, or the most balanced (although those things are certainly important). Keep an eye out for the shots that seem to have a special mood or succeed in capturing an emotion you were after. In other words, let your instincts guide you.

  1. Keep Your Eyes Open for Hidden Gems

When you’re sorting through what could potentially be hundreds of shots, it’s easy to rush things. However, if you rush too much or too often, you run the risk of missing some of the hidden gems and surprises that can be found in almost every batch. Some of the most moving landscape shots out there started out as happy accidents or diamonds in the rough that just needed a little post editing to become something truly special. Always keep an eye out for such things.

In short, successfully locating your very best shots is largely about organization, diligence, and patience. Streamline the process by setting up a system and a method that works best for you. It makes all the difference.