100 Simple Practices: View Review
After you are done shooting, how do you review your images, identify your strengths and work on your mistakes? Raj Lalwani ponders.
When the photo shoot is over, do you turn off the camera and retire for the day? Or do you sit back and rewind, review and revisit your pictures. The photographic process is something that begins way before you click the shutter and continues for long after.
80. Do Not Blame External Factors
Instead of complaining about anything that went wrong, think of what you could have done better.
81. Never Delete Anything
Avoid deleting photographs on field, or ‘chimping’. After all, you may miss a lovely moment that occurs while you are busy poring at the LCD!
82. Celebrate Your Mistakes
Even on the computer, do not delete too much. A picture that may not seem to have value today, may fit into a future body of work. Not deleting your mistakes helps you keep them in mind in the future.
83. Analyse EXIF Details
The next time you sit down on the computer, download a software called Exif Analyzer 2. This freeware tells you which focal length and settings you have used most often, thus helping you pack your bag efficiently! You may find that you actually did not need to carry half the equipment you did! Most of us do not use everything we own anyway.
84. Identify Your Camera’s Quirks
Does your camera’s lens perform poorly against the light? Or does the noise look really bad beyond ISO 800? Pay close attention to image quality to understand your gear’s quirks and limitations.
85. The Upgrade Path
Do you consistently feel that your kit lens is not long enough? Or do you wish to use a wider focal length? Depending on your personal style, you should figure out if you really need any new gear.
86. Send Pictures to Your Subjects
When you photograph someone, save his address and send him a print, or a digital copy. It is a small gesture on your part, but it will win you a friend for life.
87. Compare Photos Side by Side
The best way to review your work is to compare images side by side. You can do this with software like Adobe Bridge, but the process is best enjoyed with prints.
88. Showcase Only the Best
So you went through an entire folder of 1000 images and found only two that are truly stunning? That is not too bad. Even most legendary photographers shoot a lot of images before they capture real gems. It is critical, though, that you showcase only your best work.
89. Identify Your Dominant Style
Do your images always have an exaggerated sense of drama? Or are you someone who prefers quieter photos, which need to be seen twice to be appreciated? Identifying the style you are most comfortable with is the fi rst step towards critiquing your own work.
90 …And Any Common Mistakes
Whether you have a habit of tilting the horizon or chopping off fi ngers in the frame, identify which mistakes you commit regularly, and ensure they do not repeat.
91. Plan the Presentation
Figure out if your photos work best as prints on the wall or inside the pages of a book or magazine. Remember that you do not need to stick to tried and tested methods!
92. Edit with a Friend
Two heads are always better than one. As photographers, we tend to be attached to everything we have shot, and often lose objectivity. For instance, we may like a photo only because it was difficult to capture, even if the impact is not that great.
93. Ask People for Opinions
Instead of being secretive about your work, you may want to explore the idea of uploading pictures on websites like Facebook and Flickr.
94. Do Not Take Feedback to Heart
So you uploaded a picture and realised that 1000 people ‘Like’ this. Should you really take that statement on Facebook seriously? Do not take feedback on face value all the time. There may be people who call you the next Ansel Adams, and others who make personal attacks. Ignore feedback that is not constructive.
95. See What is Missing
Do you expect to get great photos of a person or place the very first time? Initial images may have their own spark due to the novelty of the subject, but you should always go back to the same subject.
96. Plan Your Next Attempt
Based on what is missing, plan the next shoot. Note down the challenges and opportunities that you are bound to face.
97. Make Prints
This is not so much about reviewing photos, as it is about viewing. Select your favourite shots and put up giant prints of them in your room! Seeing your own work is always inspirational.
98. To Caption or Not to Caption
Some photographers believe that if a picture is supposed to speak a thousand words, why should we need 15–20 more as a caption? Captions can be illuminating or redundant depending on the kind of images. If relevant, write something that is concise, coherent and complete.
99. Consider Your Audience
So should you showcase that beautiful, but conventional landscape or would you rather present an unusual perspective, which may or may not be appreciated? The answer lies in who is going to see your work, and what kind of a personality you wish to portray.
100. Discuss Photography
Instead of asking people whether they like a picture or not, ask them why it works or fails. Discussion and debate on the medium will always lead to new ideas. Becoming a great photographer is a journey, and not a destination. The process of looking inwards and analysing oneself is crucial, and that is what makes this journey memorable and rewarding.
Organising Photographs from a Shoot
The problem with digital cameras is that we often end up shooting a lot of photos. Selecting the best from a folder of over 1000 photos may seem like a mammoth task, but is actually simple.
Remove Any Obvious Trash
Remove any pictures that are obviously poor. Do this really quickly, but remember that every round of elimination will need you to be more critical and spend more time.
Nice or Outstanding?
After a few rounds, you should have a folder of images that are nice and conventionally appealing. Spend a lot more time analysing these pictures to figure out which ones are truly outstanding.
Compiling a Photo Story
There are various things you need to keep in mind while compiling images for a photo story. First, keep your topic really focused. So, if a particular image is even slightly off topic, avoid including it. The images should be stylistically similar, so avoid mixing colour and B&W shots. The story should also flow well, in either visually, or chronologically.