When I started my photographic journey I was keen to share my photos wherever I could in large numbers, it didn’t matter if they weren’t as good as they could be I just wanted to reach the largest audience possible, thinking this was the best way to get my name out there and heard especially with event photography. What better way then to share 100 photos so reaching potentially 100 riders.
I have since learnt the error of my ways! If you are a photographer amateur or professional, sharing photos should always be about quality not quantity, be this on social media or in a gallery to a client. It is important you concentrate on only sharing your best work. Potential customers will take note of not only your best work, but also your not so good. If you ensure all your published work hits a set standard then the overall quality of your work will automatically be higher even if it is only a perceived change at first. Add to this clients, friends and family do not want to search through a thousand images from an event, they want a reasonable number that they can quickly go through which tell the story without bombarding them.
So how do you go about cutting down on numbers? The honest answer be brutal! If it is out of focus, motion blurred (unless intentional!), compositionally unappealing or otherwise cut it unless it is a totally one off image where all of the above don’t matter (and that situation is extremely rare!!!). Next look for visually similar images, don’t include two basically identical images, decide which one you prefer and leave the other out. You will soon find you cut your numbers down quickly to far more manageable numbers which means editing becomes quicker as you are processing less photos.
Once you start cutting down on numbers, and concentrating on the quality, you then automatically start concentrating a lot more on the standard of your work, correcting the mistakes you find in future work, so not only does the perceived quality (the work you share) of your work improve but so does the actual quality (all the photos you take).
For this article I took a look back several years at some of the photos I used to share, even if just with friends and it’s clear how massively I have progressed. Take the below all three of these photos I shared and now I really have to question myself why?! None of them are actually ideal timing wise, but the middle image would most likely be the keeper if I didn’t have a photo over a different fence instead. I shared them all as I thought the more the better. Reality no, the rider would have been thrilled with just the one therefore I had no need to share more.
Lets look at another image from a similar time. It had the potential to be a decent photo, but it is under exposed and if zoomed in on, was ever so slightly out of focus. Did I share it as it was? Yes, yes I did. Am I ashamed of it? Well no, as at the time I took the photo that was where my abilities were, BUT I would be disappointed in myself to share it where I am now. I shouldn’t have shared it then, but I didn’t have the knowledge to improve it either in camera or afterwards. It was acceptable for the standard I was at at the time (still an amateur just sharing my work for the love not money!), and actually makes me proud to look back on as I have come a long way through the years. Everyone starts somewhere and you will never progress properly without learning from mistakes you make. So learn from my mistakes, take a good look at your work and what you share, and hopefully your progressive journey may be that little bit quicker. And no you never stop learning…!