Revisiting your photography archives, weeks, months or even years later will help you find great shots overlooked in the initial review.
A lesson we often learn in life the hard way is that contentment from everyday objects is fairly ephemeral. Things come and go, ice cream cones occasionally end up on the side walk. As we learn from one of the greatest movies ever made, The Princes Bride, we all must “Get used to appointment”. On the other hand, there are times in life when we are presented with opportunities and happiness which we should grab immediately, like when I found I had taken this picture of Matthew and Nate, taken nearly 3 years ago while browsing my photo archives.
A bit of luck with timing and being in the right spot at the right time helped me catch Matthew in shock from dropping his ice cream cone and Nate looking on, completely surprised in the back, probably thinking something like – “Dude! I can’t believe what you just did.”. I think the photo shows the emotion well and captures the moment nicely.
After going through my shots when I transfered the images to my computer, I had overlooked this shot, missing what ended up being such a great image. A couple weeks ago I decided to go back through some of the archives and see what caught my eye. This particular image was part of a much larger shot which contained people and objects which detracted from the main subject of the picture. I was only able to see this when I came back to it, in this case, years later.
I was talking with a good friend and excellent photographer, Eric Ward a few weeks ago about this very process. We both concluded that neither of us see a lot of images we really like immediately after a shoot. Sometimes, I’ll get some great images that I’ll see immediately while other times, I’ll browse the images I took and go away thinking I didn’t take much that I liked at all, only picking a hand full out of several hundred taken.
I think that what a lot of people don’t realize is that for many photographers, most of what they take is not used for some reason or another. National Geographic is a case in point. Out of thousands of images taken by a photographer on a NG shoot, only 5 or 6 may be chosen for an article and the ratio is even higher for a cover image. I’d say, on average, 10% – 15% of images taken during a bridal, family, portrait or engagement shoot are usable. I find that ratio to be what I typically produce however, many times, that yield does not present itself until I take a break and walk away from a project for a while before revisiting and can then be able to see images with a new perspective and an fresh eye.
It always pays to go back over your archive and revisit old shoots and image collections. You never know what you may find hidden or forgotten in your library.