Taking stock and finding some Gems

Andrew Beck Andrew 5 Comments

The emotional high that follows a successful photo safari in Africa’s incredible wilderness is closely followed by an urge to get stuck into editing ones images. Many of our guests cant even wait to return home before they get stuck in and will spend time on safari working through their favourite images.

Personally, I prefer to do a broad prioritisation of images whilst i’m in the field and will flag all images which I feel have potential using the “P” shortcut, and marking obvious rejects with an “X”. When I return home and can view the images on my 27″ iMac I then refine this process and start to prioritise the flag images by assigning star ratings, finally ending up with flagged images with 4 and 5 stars as the place where I focus my editing.

This works for me but there is still an element of emotional attachment when all of this is done either immediately or shortly after a safari.

Iconic sightings of Leopards, cheetah kills, dusty river crossings seem to catch our attention and we tend to miss out on other sightings which, from a photographic perspective, may be just as good, if not better than these iconic scenes.

Having a solid workflow where all images are evaluated on their individual merit and allowing some time for the emotional aspect to settle down a bit will help ensure that you are in fact selecting the best images and not missing out on any hidden Gems.

This is all very well and is a workflow which i make use of now but that wasn’t always the case.

Last week I was sifting through un-flagged images in my Lightroom catalogue from 2013 in an attempt to free up some space on my external hard drive. There were hundreds of images which hadn’t been rejected or flagged and were just there, doing nothing but taking up space.

Rather than filtering by unflagged status and deleting them off the bat I chose to look at the images with a fresh pair of eyes and search for any hidden gems.

I found a few which were pretty decent but I could understand why I may not have initially picked back in 2013 – we all grow and mature in our photographic style and competency.

However, I also found this image which, as soon as i saw it i thought to myself “How on earth did you miss that?”…


It turns out that this was just one image in a series of this lioness and her youngsters.


In my own little world I felt like I had struck gold.

How did I miss these?

I probably got carried away with the more iconic images and did not employ my now religiously applied workflow of evaluating every image.

It could have cost me dearly.

So, my suggestions to you is this:

  • Have a workflow where you evaluate every image you take, this may require you to shoot less
  • Prioritise your workflow, don’t just jump between those iconic moments
  • Revisit older images in search of the hidden gems
About the Author

Andrew Beck

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Very few people can tell you what their passion in life is. Even fewer will be able to tell you that what they do for a living is in fact their passion. My love for the bush and conservation took me on journey which would not only allow me to explore the continent which fascinates me so much, but to share my passion for photography and conservation with others. Be sure to check out my my website and instagram account.

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Comments 5

  1. Pingback: Taking stock and finding some Gems - Africa Freak

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  2. Martha Myers

    I couldn’t agree more, Andrew [especially that shooting less part]. I enjoy looking at past trip images for exactly the same reason, plus another: many images may fall wide of the mark, but they help me clarify what that mark is and how better to achieve it next time.

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      Andrew Beck

      You’re quite right Martha.

      The opportunity to learn from every rejected or unflagged image is something that I can’t stress enough. The fact that you’re taking that on board makes a big difference to how quickly you learn and progress in your photography.

      How many more sleeps? 😉

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