Creative intent

Like other arts, photography requires both creativity as well as technical skill. Technical skill is increasingly marginalised through automation, take for example exposure with with matrix metering - it is often tempting to settle for a "ball park" exposure with the intention of "correction in post".

Thinking back on the two recent dance shoots, both around 4 hours - one where I took just under 200 frames, and other where I took over 700. Both shoots yielded similar number of keepers (around 25), however it took substantially longer to review and process the latter, with the resulting images somehow lackluster. I got complacent, and it showed.

When my shoot got postponed last weekend, I decided to set myself a challenge - what keeper rate can achieve if I put my mind to it?

I grabbed my camera and the trusty 24~70mm f/2.8 and headed out to a nearby park. Here are 8 of the 12 frames I took:

The challenge

 Here are the rules:

  1. Identify the creative intent before taking each shot
  2. Allowed to take only 12 shots (no deletions - bad shots count!)
  3. Exposure mode in manual mode
  4. One lens only
  5. One hour on location

Here is what I found...

Like the gym, although frequent practising is important, the amount we get back is proportionate to how much we put in.

Staying within the above really forced me to focus and shoot in a measured way. It is easy to burn through all 12 frames in a second - but how many of those frames would I keep? Without having a clear creative vision, I would be leaving each frame to chance with the camera - this results in inconsistency at best, more likely a complete waste of creative opportunity.

The most important of all: I felt much more satisfied with shooting 12 frames on a morning walk, that I did taking 700 pictures in a 4 hours session.


Give it a go!