Shane Baker | Should we stop shooting after a few images?
Wind-blown grassesWind-blown grassesDry grass blowing in the wind near Canberra.

Should we stop shooting after a few images?

November 01, 2015  •  2 Comments

A few of mornings ago, I noticed a nicely backlit kangaroo paw flower in my garden. So I put my Tamron 90mm macro on my Nikon D800 and made some images.

The best of them was quite nice.  Kangaroo paw flower, Perth.Kangaroo paw flower, Perth.A Kangaroo paw flower in my garden in Perth, Western Australia. In my humble opinion, it's not bad - and as a photographer, it was a good fit to my pre-visualisation, which appeals to the craftsman in me. Of course, I didn't know this for sure as the image on the back of even the best cameras is at best an approximation of the true image (for a start, it's a JPEG, with all that implies), so I kept shooting.

At the end of the shoot, I'd made 15 images. When I loaded them into Lightroom, the best were ... the first two. And this brings me to my point. This is highly subjective, but it seems to me that many of my best images are those that are made very early in a shoot.

Have I been back into Lightroom to check this out? Nope, but I can recall a number of times looking at a roll (real or virtual) and wondering why I'd kept shooting when I already had what I needed.

At the end of the day, I don't suppose it matters. In the days of digital, the only real cost of continuing to shot is my time. I just wonder whether others have had the same experience?

And I have to say, it's not a universal truth. In his outstanding book The Moment it Clicks : Photography Secrets from One of the World's Top Shooters, Joe McNally tells the story of how he captured a terrific photograph of Linus Pauling. The point of his story was that he wasn't really happy with anything he had made so far, and as he was leaving, the opportunity presented itself - and as he hadn't put his camera away, he was able to capture that shot.

So, dragging myself back to my point: I suspect that quite a few of my best shots are those made in the first minutes of a shoot. 

But not all - so I'll keep shooting.





Shane Baker
Hi Rod.
That makes sense. I've had similar results, myself.
In my case, I think I started to over-think the image.
Regards, Shane
Shane, I agree that my best shots are often among the first couple shot, probably because I tend to focus on what first attracted me to the shot and then start to think how could I improve the composition, could I simplify etc. And sometimes this process ends up with a better shot. So my experience is that the best shots are often either the first or the last, rarely in between!
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