Think back to that time when you picked up your first camera and started down this road of photography. For some of you, maybe that was only last year. For others, it that might have been ten or twenty years ago, if not more.
Chances are, during that time when everything was magical and new, and you were only just beginning to fall in love with the process of image making, you used to shoot photos like crazy and your burned through film rolls and memory cards like they were were going out of style. That’s how you learned, right? The more photos you shot, the more you became familiar with your equipment and understood how the camera responds to the light of the world.
As time went on, you got better. Your skills improved and you started to better recognize what would make a great subject or a compelling photograph, and you probably became a little more selective with how many photos you’d shoot. Your finger started to exercise restraint on the shutter button. You no longer needed to bracket exposures or vary your compositions quite as much to ensure that you got the shot.
Then you factor in the digital thing, where you can preview and delete shots as soon as you take them, unlike the days of old, when you blew through roll after roll and wondered what the heck your photos would look like when they came back from the lab. Digital allows us to be even more selective about what we shoot, or at least keep.
At the same time, though, there are no more processing costs. All the costs with digital are loaded on the front end; once you buy your camera and memory card, it doesn’t cost any more to shoot fifty frames or fifty thousand frames. This has probably upped your number of shot photos during the past few years, right? I know it’s given me a bigger sense of freedom when shooting.
Then there’s the simple aspect of trying new things and pushing your creativity, even though you may have been at this for years. In fact, if you’re a more experienced photographer, you’re expected to remain innovative and come up with new photographic ideas all the time, especially if you shoot stock and your income depends on delivering a large body of fresh new work every year. This means shooting even more images as you continue to practice your craft, although the numbers of similar shots you create during a shoot may be significantly lower than the sheer number of individual subjects that you capture on any given day, since you’re much better and nailing the shot on the first or second try now.
How has all this jumble of technology, technical proficiency, creativity and experience affected your selective eye and shooting style over the years? Do you shoot more frames now than you used to? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Dan Bailey is a professional adventure, outdoor and travel photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska. You can follow his own blog at danbaileyphoto.com/blog and see his daily Facebook updates at facebook.com/danbaileyphoto