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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What I saw that I liked:

Another composition from the outdoor meat market in Anchang, China. Poor little whatever they are!

What I don't like in the picture:

Knowing and doing are two different things. I knew this m4/3 lens at f/3.7 would not create the shallow depth of field I wanted, but I figured I could always take care of it in post.

What I learned:

You can't always take care of it in post. Two tries (at left), both just awful.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Too embarrassing to proceed. Besides, I have lots from this shoot that are much better.