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Images Everywhere, But Few Worth Seeing

December 26, 2012

The digital age has meant that we are constantly barraged by pictures. They invade our daily lives. Television, newspapers, magazines, phones, the internet and the all pervasive social media. But, how many do you remember? In fact, how many are worth remembering? I’ll wager very few. Every few months, I get the email featuring the best shots from here or there. You probably get them as well. Generally because they feature photos impressive enough to separate them from the deluge. How can we reduce this visual pollution?

I will only concentrate here on personal photography, because it’s the one aspect we can control. Personally, I take a lot of bad photos. Not necessarily technically bad, but ones I don’t like. The main reason is, that I shoot a lot and experiment with composition, exposure and lighting. The difference to most amateurs is, that I’m the only one that sees them. Unlike the current crop of photographers that regardless of content, seem to post every image they take on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, SmugMug et al, I keep all of my pictures completely private until I have culled them, deleted the failures and processed only the best of the bunch.

I don’t accept the excuses photographers make for the bad images they’ve posted, “They moved,” “If you look closely, you can see auntie Jane, she’s just a bit blurred,” “It was pretty dark.” Rubbish, if it’s no good, and you know it, delete it.

A professional photographer friend of mine recently came back from a trip to Europe. I was looking forward to seeing his shots. It took 5 months until he finally sent me the link to his pictures in Dropbox. It was worth the wait. His pictures were stunning. Every one of them, a gem. I have looked through them a dozen times. Each time, I discovered something new. I know he shot hundreds more, but I only got to see the ones he thought were his best. He dismissed his work them as snapshots, but every picture had been processed, corrected for colour, the perspective fixed, sharpening and cropping perfect. Sure, I would have been glad to have seen them earlier, but if I had, they may not have been as perfect, nor left as deep or lasting an impression.

Whether you use a high end DSLR or a SmartPhone, there are numerous, in-camera processing options including cropping, colour correction, and exposure correction. Apps abound as well. I love Photogene and Snapseed, but there are numerous others. They’re all easy to use, and inexpensive.

The lesson here is clear. Cut the Crap. Edit mercilessly, process your pictures, and then, and only then, post the best ones. Your reputation as a photographer will grow, along with your enjoyment of the craft.

One Comment
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