Brooks Jensen Arts

Every Picture Is a Compromise

Lessons from the Also-rans

Most photography websites show the photographer's very best work. Wonderful. But that's not the full story of a creative life. If we want to learn, we'd better pay attention to the images that aren't "greatest hits" and see what lessons they have to offer. Every picture is a compromise — the sum of its parts, optical, technical, visual, emotional, and even cosmic – well, maybe not cosmic, but sometimes spiritual. Success on all fronts is rare. It's ok to learn from those that are not our best.

This is a series about my also-rans, some of which I've been able to improve at bit (i.e., "best effort"), none of which I would consider my best. With each there are lessons worth sharing, so I will.

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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Pretty cool textures in this full wing of feathers. I also like the rustic wood in the wall.

What I don't like in the picture:

I'm not sure it is possible to be too close to a subject. Am I exaggerating? Perhaps, but not by much. "Get closer" is a pretty safe rule to live by.

What I learned:

Every subject is seen in context against a background. How much background is needed? A hint, a glimpse, a whisper. In this closer composition to the left, would any additional background make the image better? Said another way, is the addition of more of the wall in the one above an improvement? Not to my eye.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I'm pretty happy with the image at left. Kind of amazing how a foot closer (and a rotation to portrait orientation) makes it so much better!