April 17, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


Everyone starts out the same way.  Take many photos and delete few.  A sure sign of a beginner.  So you've been shooting a while more than a year and you are still keeping 90 percent of the photos you take.  I am pretty sure your keeper rate is a little high especially when 75 out of a hundred look the same.  I am talking to those gunners who shoot as much as their camera can take in a second.  I see it even when they shoot something stationary.  If you want to get better at photography set some goals for taking and keeping what you shoot.  In the past year I have gone back and deleted a terabyte of old photos I had no idea why I took them in the first place.  It is a process to see how you started and where you stand.  Some were so out of focus I couldn't remember what it was.  I keep photos for few reasons and started taking less.  My first requirement at this period of my life is trying to do a concept.  This follows having an idea, setting the shot up and making the image you wanted to make.  This could be simple as a full moon.  You need to there when the moon is there so time of day and for a great moon shot maybe that iconic foreground like a building or something else you or someone else would like.  Shooting it rising or setting or should it be full or not.  Concepts may be making a composite because there is no way to get the exact shot with camera limitations or background location.  Doing a simple portrait can be considered a concept especially when you are looking for a special person and add a background to make it very special.  Backgrounds with that person can be a nice vacation.  To me setting all this up  takes thought, planning and sometimes construction.  It slows down the process and the photography is more deliberate as was the film days.  So you taken the photo and have to decide what to keep and what to trash.  This also needs some guidelines.  The first I use would I print it.  That's a no brainer.  You might not print it right now but you intend to print it.  The next one I use is can I use the photo.  I like to do slide show lectures and a lot of the photos that I keep are used for that purpose.  An important guide that changes from time to time is the photo for someone else.  I as many do the family photo, maybe not my immediate family but good friends.  I'll keep them for a while sometimes too long but I let them go.  I can let them go because I have a rule.  If I take the time to do the photography something has to be printed.  Then I let them have the files and they are on their own.  I keep few of these unless they meet one of the above guides. 

Once you get past the above the next thing to consider in better photography is taking better photography.  I went from a long day out taking wildlife photos with a couple hundred photos to going all day and taking 20  I may keep 20 or so out of the hundreds I used to take to keeping 15 out of 20.  What changed?  I spend more time looking through the camera and exercising the would I print it, can I use it or is it for someone else in my head before I take the shot.  I take more time to look at the light, the angle, the background and the subject matter.  When the cameras had film no one except sports were motor driving hundreds of photos.  When the view camera was the only game it was even less. 

Better photography doesn't mean more photos. 


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