Camera Craniums

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: picsfor on July 25, 2010, 11:03:47 AM

Title: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: picsfor on July 25, 2010, 11:03:47 AM
Following my trip to Harold Wood Hospital, i have found that as a result of a couple of the pictures I'd taken, I'm now reviewing re-evaluating my previous pictures.
I suppose I'm saying that I think I've taken some of my better portrait pictures and need to raise my game to get some more.

But how often does this happen? Is it a constant in the world of photography? If so - should I be expecting to be constantly reviewing my work in a critical manner?

Your thoughts - good or bad are more than welcome!
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: Hybridphotog on July 25, 2010, 11:30:18 AM
Don't forget, your early photos will (or bloody well should) highlight your improved photography skills.
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: ABERS on July 25, 2010, 03:24:45 PM

  - should I be expecting to be constantly reviewing my work in a critical manner?




Doesn't everyone?
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: skellum on July 25, 2010, 03:35:13 PM

  - should I be expecting to be constantly reviewing my work in a critical manner?




Doesn't everyone?

Most photographers are their own worst critic........ :legit:
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: picsfor on July 25, 2010, 09:21:40 PM
  - should I be expecting to be constantly reviewing my work in a critical manner?

Doesn't everyone?

I accept that as photographers we review our work on a constant level, but how often do you take a picture (or pictures) which leave you thinking -

"you know what - i'm gonna have to trash everything i've done up to this point!"

Did i really learn that much in one day - or did it all just come together after looking at the style of others, going out on shoots with other more skilled and able photographers.
My 5D MkII has a picture count of over 11k pictures since new last June. I thought i'd taken some fairly acceptable pictures.
I'm now thinking my fairly acceptable picture count is 2! (pictures of the family don't count - you can't compete with emotion)
That can't be right surely?
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: ABERS on July 25, 2010, 11:42:41 PM
Blimey Andrew, 11000 a year. It's a wonder you have time to look at them all and evaluate properly what you have got :-\.

It does beg the question, how many keepers a month would satisfy you? ???
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: Oldboy on July 25, 2010, 11:50:32 PM
My D3 has over 100,000 so far in two and half years.  :o

And no, I haven't review them all.  ???
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: picsfor on July 26, 2010, 07:08:41 AM
Blimey Andrew, 11000 a year. It's a wonder you have time to look at them all and evaluate properly what you have got :-\.

It does beg the question, how many keepers a month would satisfy you? ???

Well, work flow has been something I've been working on since before Christmas because i did struggle to find time, but now i've pretty much got that sorted.
As to how many keepers i got each month seems to vary. I don't take pictures every day or even every week, I seem to go on whole or half day shoots and get about 200-400.
When i popped to Kew for the Butterflies there was no was i was gonna get away with a couple of shots. Animal shots are rarely caught in a single shot and often require the drive be moved to its highest frame rate. Then of course there is the desire to "get a banker". As good as the screens on the back of a camera have become - they still don't give a full picture - usually focusing off by a fraction.

I suppose what is different is my ability to "process" a picture - beyond the traditional exposure adjustment, dust removal etc. Whilst limited, the processing tools in LR can be quite effective and i'm learning to use them to greater effect.

But what constitutes as a "keeper" seems to have changed with the last few shoots, and by a country mile. Most pictures now meet the criteria of an acceptable record of the subject, but do not jump out and say "i'm a really great picture". I'm looking to submit for an LRPS accreditation - a while ago i thought i had a good 10 shots, now i think i may have 1 or 2. So i'm back to the drawing board on that.

Which brings me back to my opening question. Whilst we, as photographers, often review our work - how often do we reach a point where we almost downgrade our previous efforts from "keepers" to acceptable records of a subject? As opposed to "becoming bored with a picture we've looked at too many times since we took it".
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: ABERS on July 26, 2010, 08:30:38 AM
Most pictures now meet the criteria of an acceptable record of the subject, but do not jump out and say "I'm a really great picture".

I always find it difficult to give advice since it lays one open to a negative reaction no matter how it's put.

The phrase you used in your last post, 'acceptable record' could be taken as a euphemism for 'a snapshot' and it makes me think perhaps you are approaching your photography from the wrong angle. Photography means different things to different people and how many forum posts have we seen and read on that well discussed subject?

When you look through the viewfinder and all you see is an 'acceptable record', don't press the shutter, wait until you see a photograph!

Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: picsfor on July 26, 2010, 09:58:24 AM
We've met a few times Alan, and you should know by now that i see no comment as megative or offensive.
If i wasn't prepared to accept "honest comment" - i wouldn't put myself in the firing line or i wouldn't ask for comment.

To some degree, your comment may have some relevance. I do spend a lot more time wondering if what i am looking at is a "record/ snap" than i previously did. That is not to say that some pictures will be designed to be exactly that - records or snaps, usually of the family.

Although i am never normally found without a camera, it spends a lot more time left in the bag than it used to.
But again, this is all rather recent...

From the responses being gained from this discussion, the change to my outlook on photography appears to be something that is personal to me. I have no problem accepting that maybe i'm improving my photographic abilities bit by bit, and as a result, some pictures will cease to be as pleasing as once they were. But this leap just seems to big.

It seems the best thing i can do is file this change under the heading of "the penny has dropped"...
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: Jonathan on July 26, 2010, 06:51:35 PM
From the responses being gained from this discussion, the change to my outlook on photography appears to be something that is personal to me. I have no problem accepting that maybe i'm improving my photographic abilities bit by bit, and as a result, some pictures will cease to be as pleasing as once they were. But this leap just seems to big.

Nope.  I get that a lot.  I'll be cruising along thinking everything is pretty cool and then suddenly I'll take some pictures that I don't even recognise as my own work.  You flip through the lightbox and go "woah - who shot those?  They are cool!".  It's probably happened half a dozen times and if I think hard I can probably pinpoint pictures it happened with.

The trick is
1. to sit down and figure out if it's a direction you want to go in
2. repeat, repeat, repeat.  If you like what you did then go out as soon as you can and shoot more of the same.  Sometimes I have a fear that a newfound ability won't "stick" and that I'll go back to shooting stuff that I now see as mediocre.
3. Work on making the next step happen.  Get out of your comfort zone and try shaking things up again.

I don't see photography as a learning curve - it's a series of giant steps.  The trick if you want to improve is not to get too comfortable on the plateaux.
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: Eileen on July 26, 2010, 09:48:08 PM
I have always been my own biggest critic and find as time goes on it gets harder and harder to take a picture I really like. I have had a few moments where I feel I've made a big leap but a lot of the time it's just steady progress. I was listening to a talk by a very inspiring photography tutor recently. Among other things he said that we should all learn to hate our own pictures sooner, so we can push on to do better and better. He repeated the famous Cartier Bresson comments that the first 10,000 pictures are the worst and then added that C-B didn't shoot digital! So at least another zero should be added to the number.
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: Oldboy on July 27, 2010, 12:08:59 AM
I have always been my own biggest critic and find as time goes on it gets harder and harder to take a picture I really like. I have had a few moments where I feel I've made a big leap but a lot of the time it's just steady progress. I was listening to a talk by a very inspiring photography tutor recently. Among other things he said that we should all learn to hate our own pictures sooner, so we can push on to do better and better. He repeated the famous Cartier Bresson comments that the first 10,000 pictures are the worst and then added that C-B didn't shoot digital! So at least another zero should be added to the number.

Strange thing for CB to say? If your first 1,000 photographs are that bad then you may stop taking photos any more. I think you should love your first photos, as without them you wouldn't be where you are now. They also show how you have moved on in your style but most importantly, they demonstrate why you picked up the camera in the first place. That magical moment when you viewed them large should still be with you today when you see your latest effort, that is progress. Yes, they may be full of technical errors but they should still fire you with passion as it did then.  ;D 
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: ABERS on July 27, 2010, 07:41:39 AM
The first 1000 pictures you take are, at the time, wonderful no matter how bad they are. All those pictures of tree bark, Auntie Nellie's wrinkled face, the dog next door and all those wonderful sunsets over the house across the road are to be treasured as the first step to fame and fortune in this new exciting world that you've just entered. I think all the negatives are up in the loft somewhere.

Then step by step you start on a journey that is never ending. Trying different things, learning from others, but being careful not to copy them, realising that pressing the shutter is not the be-all and end-all of the operation and then reaching a point where you find a certain genre is your forte. You then proceed to do it to death until the sparkle goes out of it. So off you go taking another step to try and stretch your capabilities and learn something else, not necessarily new, but new to you, and see if you can adapt it to your particular style and view of photography.

By the way, when realism kicks in, the aspiration to fame and fortune is the first casualty on the journey. ;) I'm still stumbling along.
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: krennon on July 27, 2010, 11:21:02 AM
I've said this before and I will say it again...

I am not the worlds best photographer (and never will be) I am not the worlds worst photographer (and HOPE I never will be  :-\)
My photographs may not be technically correct most of the time, other people may actually hate my photos or be willing to give constructive criticism or hopefully like them a lot and be willing to tell me so...

The only thing that matters to me is I take a photo because I liked what I saw at the time and that I like the end result...if others like it great if they don't then fine they are entitled not to like it....that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to improve, just don't get to hung up on trying to get it perfect every time we can only learn by our mistakes...
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: picsfor on July 27, 2010, 12:13:20 PM
Well, I've certainly created a discussion point - if nothing else.
As has been pointed out - there appears to be no right answer, as like most artistic activities, photography is very largely a personal affair.
Maybe I've just been used to activities where improvements can be measured in a very cold light.
It is somewhat difficult to say that i've achieved a 34% improvement in the quality of my pictures. It is a statement that can never be qualified!
Measuring by subjectivity is something i may have to learn or accept!

Without a doubt the pictures within my LR catalogue have mostly been rated in a downward manner. I suppose that is the one beauty of something like LR - i don't delete the images. I just reevaluate them, and at worst just remove them from the catalogue.

Most importantly, through your comments, i do at least have an idea of how to resolve my dillema.
Title: Re: Discussion: how often do you take a picture that...
Post by: Eileen on July 27, 2010, 08:54:20 PM
I think the point of that quote from Cartier Bresson was that you need to work hard, and keep working, to get good pictures. There are really no shortcuts. For me working hard is about taking pictures regularly and also about looking hard at those I've taken and those others take and learning from them. Pretty much what Jonathan and Alan said really. My best picture is always my next one.

I have sentimental attachments to many of my early pictures. One or two are not bad pictures too. But one of the many joys of photography is that there's always more to learn.  :)