Show your best work
All these years of using Flickr, I have never paid the $20 that are required for a Flickr Pro account. Flickr Pro accounts allow photographers to upload an unlimited number of photos to their photostream. There are free Flickr accounts which allow photographers to upload up to 300 megabytes of data per month.
The reason I haven’t upgraded is that I only show my best work…. only. I’ll go out and take 2,000 images and only let three or four of those photos see the light of day. The others collect dust on my hard drive, never to be seen by mankind. Doing this has two perks: (1) it spares my friends and family from sorting through 300 photos of my son’s birthday, and (2) it makes me look like a much better photographer than I really am. I’m not necessarily trying to become a famous photographer, but I still want to show my best stuff.
If all that people ever see of your photography is the 1% of your work that is absolutely perfect, they will think that you are an absolutely perfect photographer. This can be difficult to do, though. It’s tricky because you have to be a good enough editor of your own work to know what the best 1% of your work is. Here are a few tips to help you select your best images after a shoot.
Photography Tip #1: When you come home from a shoot, quickly move through your shots and select only 5 to 10% of the shots. Now you can weed out the losers. Your choice is now much easier.
Photography Tip #2: LEAVE THE COMPUTER! If it was worth your time to do this shoot, it’s worth your time to spend time in post-processing. After selecting about 5% of the photos that are potential contenders, leave and come back. Whenever I do this, I immediately know which photo is the winner and which ones can be tossed out. A fresh look at the photos is worth its weight in gold.
Photography Tip #3: Look at the photo and ask yourself, “What does this communicate?” Does it evoke an emotion? Does it convey a message? If you can’t answer this question about your photo, it is likely that you like the photo because you worked hard to take it, or you used some cool photography technique, or because the scene made an impact on you when you were there. If the photo doesn’t communicate, then it needs no medium to convey the message that it doesn’t contain.
Photography Tip #4: Ask someone else what photo they prefer.
Photography Tip #5: Spend a lot of time, hours and hours, looking at good photography. This will help you to know what style you appreciate and will help you to know what type of photo impacts the viewer.
Photography Tip #6: Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can “Fix it in Photoshop.” Photoshop can make an 90% photo a 100%, but it rarely or never makes a 60% photo much better than a 70% photo. Put junk into Photoshop and you’ll still have junk.
Photography Tip #7: Be ruthless. Don’t be afraid to leave a photo on your hard drive. If the photo isn’t absolutely perfect, delete. People will only remember your very best work and the very best side of you.
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