What are you shooting for?

Do you shoot photographs like Rambo?

OK, so Rambo may be a bit extreme, but two recent comments I read and heard have triggered (pun intended) this post.

Quote 1:
While introducing myself to the priest a few weeks ago (at a church in the South Hills of Pittsburgh), he was giving me the restrictions.

The only thing I ask is that you do not take a lot of pictures during the homily and prayer. The guy that was here last week, was like a ‘machine gun’. He was so distracting that I could not concentrate and pray!

I assured him that I would not be ‘that guy’ and would respect his wishes.

2nd Quote I read from a ReTweet last week:

Culling thru wedding photos is definitely the most trying part about this job. I need to turn off continuous drive mode… too many photos.

These two quotes got me thinking about where I was and where I am now.

Do either of these descriptions fit you? I know at a time, they fit me well. When I first started out shooting, I did feel like I was holding a machine gun (spraying and praying) to capture each and every moment/detail/portrait. Why? Well I think it was because ‘I could’. I mean it’s digital right? Why not just shoot everything? The other reason was that I thought, ‘These wonderful people are paying me to capture everything, so I do not want to stand around and look like I am lazy or not busy.’ The latter, is the main reason.

The more I grew as a photographer, and continue to grow, I have become more confident in that ‘down time’ where I am searching, rather than shooting in continuous mode. I am sure a ‘lack of confidence’ is a reason why I was such a machine gunner at first too, as I suspect a lot of newbies suffer from this as well.

I continue to push myself to:

  • Be intentional.
  • Shoot Less.
  • Deliver Less Quantity, but More Quality.

By sticking to these principles, I am able to be more aware and focused to do a better job.

Being intentional has helped me more than anything. This means slowing down. Anticipating. Reacting. If I am busy shooting and spraying everything, chances are I will miss the Definitive Moments. This creates ‘fluff’ but the ‘meat’ will be gone forever.

It is impossible to capture every single moment throughout an event. It is not impossible, however, to capture the moments that matter. The moments that ‘make’ the day. These snippets of time are where real value is documented. Less = more. Are you familiar with the scarcity principle?

People assign more value to opportunities when they are less available.

This holds true because:

  • Things difficult to attain are typically more valuable. And the availability of an item or experience can serve as a shortcut clue or cue to its quality.
  • When something becomes less accessible, the freedom to have it may be lost.

Translated into photographs/moments: That ONE moment is way more valuable than the many so/so moments.

Like most things in life, this process is more of a Journey than a destination. I know that most of my clients end up with 40 – 80 final finished images in their albums. It is my job to deliver those selections amid the sea of images I may capture throughout a day. During my editing process I become more brutal with flagging the keepers. Therefore the images that I do deliver represent ‘the best’ of the day rather than lots and lots of ‘eh, shots’ of the day.

So what are you shooting for?

So I encourage you as you enter this weekend of shooting to be more intentional, shoot less and deliver higher quality.

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