Monday, May 4, 2009

Letting go...or not.

After spending hours and hours reviewing, assessing, and touching up photos from the wedding two weeks ago, I have an awareness of a challenge I face: letting go, and not letting go. Sometimes I find that an image is "almost brilliant", but has a fundamental and unforgivable flaw. For example, I had a shot of the bride and groom that was nearly stellar, but for the giant head that stepped in front of me and into the frame. Most of the image is fine, but I can't crop out the head without destroying what should stay. I want to keep it - in every respect it was going to be brilliant. But it's awful, and I have to let it go.

On the other hand, sometimes the standards I put on myself cause me to reject what are to others perfectly fine photographs. That is, they're technically well executed by not my vision of art. When it comes to art, what I like is not necessarily what others like. I read an article the other day on the importance of pursuing your vision for photography, not what everyone else wants from you. I think that's wise guidance, and I subscribe to it. But at the same time, I'm sure I'm too critical of some of my images. In fact, by not showing some of these images to my client, perhaps I'm diluting the value I'm giving them. So, sometimes I have to not let go.

The photo below is an example of both. Technically, it's poorly executed. It's not crisp, it's grainy, and poorly exposed (this was shot in the rain at 7:30PM from about 50 yards away). Right, into the trash it goes. But it's really a great moment. Abby Wambach, the stellar forward for the Washington Freedom, has won the header Nikki Cross of the St. Louis Athletica, as Nikki is left only to take the full impact of Abby's 5'11" frame. This is the kind of moment, the art that I'm looking for when I shoot sports. So it's a keeper because the action is so intense. But it's such a crappy shot that I should really let it go.

I'm going to have to figure out what my decision points are, and quickly. With my 600 shots from the wedding, and 15,00 total from the team, I can't agonize over each shot or I'll never finish touch-ups. Ok, for this one, I'll...

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