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May 06, 2020
Stop Showing Everything You Shoot

To cull your photos in photography is the process of sorting out the keepers from the ones that didn’t meet your visual mark. It’s the process of refining your initial vision for a shoot which to me is exciting because you get to relive experiences that made you giddy as you were capturing them.

When we’re hired for a job, it’s not just solely for our technical ability to capture something artistic but also for our ability to edit. Far too often it’s overwhelming in seeing photographers share an enormous amount of photos from a shoot. Perhaps more photos that we as audience are able to digest.

Selecting favorite photos from a shoot within Lightroom

Like everything else in life, there has to be a nice balance. It’s difficult to imagine a photographer that doesn’t get excited about an epic travel adventure or a studio shoot that’s allowed them to flex their creative vision. It’s normal for us to want to show our work but how you present the photos from a shoot and the diversity of them is just as important. We don’t need to see 8 photographs of a subject that when placed alongside each other you can’t even tell them apart. More is not always better, especially in these scenarios.

When I edit photos from a shoot, there’s a tons of images I would love to publish on the website but when I look at feature articles within publications I admire such as Men’s Health, Self Magazine or even Travel & Leisure, you’ll never see everything completely laid out. By the time you see those photos you love in a magazine, a meticulous process of selecting the best ones has already happened since there’s still text to consider.

What leads photographers to overshare? It could be that we’re not too confident yet in determining what we feel our best work is yet so to compensate we end up sharing everything and when you do that you’re ultimately leaving it up to the audience to decide for you.

I use to be guilty of this myself. When I overshoot someone, it’s merely to secure options to work with while I ultimately select the best ones later and not because my intention is to show you everything.

More is not always better. Instead, try to aim for a more concise tightly edited body of work. I know a lot of times we want to believe each and every frame we take is profound in its own way but that won’t always be the case. In fact, I always like to joke around that if at any time any of my work looks “good” it’s because I haven’t shown you “all the bad stuff I’ve photographed.”