Almost invariably, digital photography leads to one big truth—hundreds, even thousands of images end up stored on your hard drive.
I have run an “Enjoy Your Camera” course for many years—I’ve instructed almost 2,000 keen photographers face-to-face—and they all seem to have one key question. “What do I do with all my images, and what can I do to get the most enjoyment out of them?”
My answer has always been simple: “That’s up to you and how you approach this wonderful hobby.” However, I advise everyone to keep in mind a few points.
The image isn’t everything
Particularly when shooting landscapes, the whole process of creating an image should be part of the enjoyment and can be extremely calming and therapeutic.
It is really important to enjoy the moment.
If you are on site early in the morning and you are the only person there, practice the art of looking and absorbing as you plan your image. If you were not a photographer, you would be in bed and would miss this wonderful experience.
Being out and about should be an essential part of enjoying the hobby.
Likewise, enjoy the wonder of sunsets. Yes, you should get some good images, but that is only one part of what it takes to enjoy an environment that you can revisit time and again through your images.
The first person to impress with your image is you. If other people enjoy it, that’s a bonus
We should be making photographs for ourselves, for the enjoyment of experiencing nature and exploring the landscape—not to please someone else.
The less concerned we are about who will like our images, the better. It can put a real crimp in our creative juices. We should feel absolute freedom to create whatever grabs our attention. Of course, it’s still smart to pay attention to the tools of artistic composition that have been developed over hundreds of years—or ignore them, if that’s your preference. Digital photography has given us enormous freedom to create, but it is worth asking yourself why you are doing this. What are you trying to achieve? Ask these questions before you press the shutter.
There are all manner of systems and applications to help you sort your images, and it is not my intention to venture there. However, there is one tip I will offer:
Keep tabs on your special images
As soon as you download your images onto your computer, run through them on a big screen. If any of them triggers a response from you, move it to a special folder. You will never see your images with such a fresh view again. If you mentally mark the good ones and try and find them later, you stand a good chance of forgetting many of them. (I speak from experience.) Chances are, unless you are very well organized, you will never look at any of the other images again.
You will, however, look at the ones you have selected.
Enhancing your images
Yes, it is worth it. How much you do is a personal matter, but my view is that less is often more. Color is like sound: it can be too loud. However, fundamentally, post-production is a crucial step to enjoying your hobby and it can be very rewarding.
It is all about having fun and enjoying what you are doing.
One could write a book on this, but I hope that what is here has given you some ideas.
I can offer one final, somewhat odd-sounding idea to encourage you to spend time running through your images:
I recently posted my 1,000th image on Instagram, having done one every day for 1,000 days.
There have been one or two inadvertent duplicates but, hey, I had fun.
My Instagram account, should you be interested, is @rogeralanlee. The plan was to post once per day for a year—then it became two years, and now it is three years.
It has given me a whole new interest in my photographs, as I run though all my old files looking for images to post. It is purely for me, so I don’t mind how many followers I have and don’t actively look for them.
Try it for a while and see if it suits you. If it’s not fun, forget it.
The important thing is this: enjoy your photography!
About the Author:
Roger Alan Lee is a passionate photographer, course leader and cruise ship workshop leader. His aim is to enthuse others with his courses and eBooks, which are “for people who don’t want to drown in detail—just take good photographs.”
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