Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Looking Back To Learn

A Windy afternoon on the Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver BC

A few times I year I look back at my catalog of images, just to see how my photography is changing with time. Looking back gives you a chance to prune your image library of photos that you don't need to keep anymore. Sometimes you took a few dozen shots of a subject, but upon later reflection to realize that keeping only one or two of them makes sense. Sure hard disks with large amounts are cheap, but does that mean you need to keep every photo you have ever taken? For me the answer is a resounding no. For example I was looking at photos I had taken in January of this year, a point in time when I was doing a lot of practice shooting. There were some nice images, which I kept, but a lot of images that I skipped over due to lower quality upon my first look through them. Now, looking at those abandon images, I see the reason why, they were not very good. So I took the time to sort out and delete images that didn't make the cut.

One of the most interesting parts of a photographer's workflow is image sorting. That is one part of my workflow that could use some work. I often pick my favorites right away when I first upload them to the computer, then over the next few days rank the remaining images. Some are cut out right away, while others are okay, but most likely will be deleted later. I'm glad that I wait to delete old images that didn't seem very good at first, because every now and then you find a gem among many failures.

Looking back has also shown me that my photography is in fact improving. Being able to see improvement in your shots over time can be very encouraging, especially if you are feeling stuck photographically. One of the most important things to remember is that like any art form, photography is an uphill climb! Even some of the worlds greatest photographers have struggled, and many felt that they only took a small number of what many would consider great photographs. So as you go out and take more photos, don't feel discouraged, just keep looking through the viewfinder or at the LCD on the back of your camera, and capture the world as you see it! The more photos you take, the better you will get.