The Task of Selecting the Year’s “Favorite Photographs” Images

Posted on 20 December 2012

It has now become an annual ritual (obligation? ;-) to share a list of annual “best” or “favorite” photographs at about this time each year. I prefer to refer to them as my “favorites,” since it is very difficult to truly know which are “best.” Sometimes understanding that takes quite a while – photos that seemed amazing at first lose their magic and others that seemed less special grow on you.

So, how to do this? I exposed perhaps nearly 10,000 raw files last year. Most of those will never see the light of day. Of these, I was willing to share them at a rate of about one per day, though some will still be coming up here as “daily photos” for the first time in 2013. So I’m guessing that I might have 400 images to start out with. My target is a dozen photographs, but I’ve never distilled in quite to that point, and about 20 seems more likely.

My first step is to take all of the photos that I have shared online (or plan to share soon) that were made in 2012 and put them into a collection in Lightroom. I make a quick scan through these and start by generously giving anything that catches my eye a starting 3-star rating. That’s what I’ve done so far… and I have 119 photos!

2012 Favorites - The First Cut

2012 Favorites – The First Cut

The next step in the distillation process will be to go through those 119 photos and look for overlaps, images that I have a soft spot for but which don’t really work as well photographically, and photos to represent a certain diversity among the work I’ve done. I’ll share the results of that process here, too, once I complete it.

From that next selection, I’ll have the hard task of making the final cut.

If you have opinions about any of the photographs you’ve seen here this year, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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