I was thinking this morning about yesterday’s post, where I showed some of my not-so-good photos from my recent trip. I figured I’d share some thoughts with you.

1. It was one of my most popular blog posts since I’ve started the blog.
It’s really interesting because I’ve done this twice so far. The first time was with my not-so-good photos from my Grand Teton trip back in September. Both of those posts are ranked at the top of my most visited (and most commented on) posts on this blog since I started it back in July 2012.

2. I think people like to know that most photographers don’t just click the shutter and magic happens.
The reason why I think #1 happened is because most people like knowing that other photographers don’t just press the shutter once to get a great photo. I’ve always believed that photography is very much like exercise (and many other things in life). You warm up before the good stuff happens. The more you practice, the more you warm up, the better and faster you get at it. But no matter how good you get, you still have to warm up.

3. Good composition comes from working a scene.
Building on #2 above, I think you have to take lots of bad photos before you get to a good one. Scott Kelby talks about this in his Crush The Composition class on Kelby Training Online. He talks about working the scene or area you’re in. It’s not just about what you see when you walk up. It’s about how your camera sees it. And that view changes depending on what lens you have on, where you’re standing and how high or low you happen to be. That’s why working the scene is so important. You’re taking photos that aren’t great, to help you get to that great one. There’s time where I walk up to a scene and just know exactly what I want to shoot. But there’s MANY times where I have no idea. Perfect example was my 2nd morning morning at the sand dunes in Death Valley. Things didn’t go as planned and when I arrived at the area I wanted to shoot it, the dunes were trampled to death by tourist traffic the day before. Just looking around initially, I thought to myself “There’s nothing to shoot here”. But then, by working the scene and getting comfortable for a few minutes, I realized there was a shot, though, if I put my 70-200 lens on and zoomed in to something interesting I saw off in the distance. This (below) ended up being one of my favorites from the trip. But I never saw it when I first got there. I had “wide” eyes on (and a wide lens at that), so working the area for a little while helped me focus in on a better shot.

Death Valley Dunes

4. I Know I Showed My Bad Photos, But I Don’t Think You Should Show Yours?
I know everyone always says to only show off your good work. I believe they’re right. If you’re reading this and you’re some one trying to make it as a photographer (pro, amateur, or just hobbyist), then you probably shouldn’t show off your bad photos. Unless you’re sitting with a teacher (some one else who knows how the process of photography and post-processing work and go together) and trying to figure out what you did wrong, I think you should have your favorites picked and processed before you show people. It’s okay if the rest of the world (your clients, friends, family, etc…) think you walk up and nail a photo in one shot. For me personally, I shared these because I want to be a teacher. And I wanted to show you (hopefully teach you too), that these things don’t happen automatically with one click.

Thanks so much for the comments and thoughts the last two days. Hopefully this post helps tie those thoughts together a little. Have a good one!


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