To be a good photographer, you have to be a good editor. I’m not talking about photoshop skills, I mean you need to be able to ruthlessly separate the wheat from the chaff. I keep seeing photographers post a solid image online on Facebook or 500px only to sabotage their efforts moments later by posting another five very similar but not quite as good images. Once you do that, you devalue the original image and it disappears into a cloud of mediocrity.
It’s the “spray and pray” mentality. With high frame rates, big memory cards and fast broadband it’s easy to be lazy and upload in bulk. Clicking ‘Select All’ and ‘Upload’ is so much easier that taking the time to sift though 300 images looking for the one that stands out. It’s even harder to understand when the photographer does that but still uploads dozens more afterwards.
You may have a lot of images you like from a particular shooting session, but I guarantee there will be one or two in that set that stand out from the rest. It might be that they are sharper or be exposed better. It could be a better composition or a distracting background element may have moved out of the frame. It might be a subtly better expression from your subject, or the peak action of a sporting moment. Whatever it is, there will be something to give it the edge – Take the time, and have the pride in your work to find those gems instead of uploading everything.
Case in point with the images below. All seven are sharp and each has merit but I chose only the 5th image to share online and this is the only time you will ever see the other 6.
I like the angle of the car and the motion blur in the wheels. There’s nice amount of tyre smoke and there is even some light falling on the driver. Add to that the car is neatly in the centre of the sponsors banner to give some context and I think we have a clear winner. Here it is after a few Lightroom tweaks:
So what kind of photographer you want to be? Do you want to be known for quantity over quality? Do you want to get as many photos online as soon as possible and to hell with standards? Do you want your work to disappear into the endless stream of average that people are bombarded with today?
I certain I don’t. I want to stand out, and to do that I choose to only ever show my best work. Of course I throw the odd grab shot up to Instagram but anything taken on DSLR has some thought, time and care dedicated to it. It’s so much more effective to share one strong image than to bury it amongst 100 average ones.
So next time you are about to upload a batch of images, pause for a moment, take some pride on your work and ask yourself: ‘Does the world really need to see all of these?’