You may remember earlier this summer we posted our review of Photo Mechanic – one of our favorite pieces of photography software! We use Photo Mechanic to quickly import RAW files, as well as sort through and rate them. One feature that we neglected to mention in our original review is the very useful Compare function.
When sorting through hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of photos you’re almost certain to encounter images that look similar to one another. You’ll flip back and forth through them, but they just look the same :/
Time to compare!
Notice the buttons above the left photo. You’ll see icons for side-by-side comparison, top-bottom comparison, and returning to just one photo. Once you know where to find the icons you can forget about them and just use their shortcuts – H is for side-by-side, V is for top-bottom, and O is for one photo.
You can see that the right photo is currently selected (light grey). What that means is that that photo will change as you use the left and right arrows to navigate through the thumbnail strip (which you can’t see in this photo). This is super handy in that you can have one select stationary (the left photo) while you quickly compare it to similar photos.
We usually end up taking over a thousand photos at our portrait sessions. Whenever we tell clients or other photographers this it usually elicits disbelief. The fact of the matter is that human expression is a difficult and fleeting thing capture, and taking tons of photos means we’ll hopefully get the select that we’re looking for. By using the comparison function in Photo Mechanic we’re able to get through this fast. It takes practice being able to quickly make decisions about which is the stronger photo, and we’re forced to drill down to the details which often make or break the image. This practice absolutely makes you a stronger photographer, as you come to notice those little things that take an image from good to great. Once you can start noticing those things in your sorting, you’ll start to see them more when you’re shooting. Never underestimate the importance of sorting, and really getting to know your work.
Besides comparing expression its also useful to compare images with similar but slightly different composition. I always find this a tricky task. If there are several different compositions of essentially the same image I usually try to narrow it down to two or three. A little variety is great, and I can usually make one B&W.
Take a look at the photos in the above screenshots (both of the couple and the mom and daughter). Which photos would you choose and why? Leave your thoughts in the comments, or just spend a couple minutes thinking about them. On Monday we’ll share our thoughts on each!