• How Many Pictures?

    Image:  Smiling Giraffe

    Those who follow me on Facebook probably have figured out that I went to Africa this summer. And those who look for my blogs are probably wondering why I haven't written anything in a while.  Which leads me to the photo thought for today - How many photos is too many?

    After 14 days in Tanzania, visiting five different national parks, I returned home to the reality of having to cull through almost 3500 images.

    Gulp. That was nearly 250 images a day. What WAS I thinking? After two months back home, I finally feel like I can come up for air. I'm to the point where I'm creating slide shows for family and friends, posting images to my website for purchase, and writing this blog. 

    Back to the question. For me, 3500 photos in just over 2 weeks was too many...but I learned a few things along the way, and here's how I could have come home with maybe half that many, and been just as satisfied.

    1. The more familiar you are with the environment, the more selective your shots. At the beginning of my trip, I wanted to show everything I saw, and from every angle. But the longer I was there, the more selective my images. Lesson learned: take time to get to know an area, and wait to pick up the camera until you know what you want to show. Not always possible, but if you can do it, do.
    2. Don't struggle to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. If your subject is so far away they are only a dot in your image, or the subject is so obscured no one knows what it is unless you tell them, well, make one image if you need to, but then stop. Making 20 shots will not magically make a good image out of a poor situation. I know; I tried.
    3. Wait for it, and be ready. Have your camera set for the conditions, have it in your hands, maybe even up to your eye, but wait until your subject is where you want it before you start snapping away. Never stop thinking about composition. If you don't like the composition no one else will either. Don't waste time and shots on bad composition.

    And, once you've taken however many shots are right for you, remember:

    1. No matter how many pictures you take, you'll still talk about the one that got away.  This is the bane of photographers. We might have the shot of the century, but we'll remember that one backlit gesture that we saw out of the corner of our eye that didn't make it into our gallery. Accept it.
    2. EDIT (by edit, I mean cull, select, prioritize) your images before you show them to others.  No one wants to see 241 pictures of a lion (except maybe a lion biologist). They'd rather see 5 pictures with impact. Besides, showing someone all the pictures you took is akin to having to read all the rough drafts of a novel (I also have heard this described as "picture vomiting" ewww).
    3. Edit on a big screen. That's where you can see details and depth of focus. Yes, there's obvious goofs that are easy to delete from your camera, but the finer details need a bigger screen.

    Lastly, enjoy yourself. No one can ever edit the mental pictures from your mind (I hope!).

    Until next time!