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:

I like the relationship between the leaves and the tree trunk.

What I don't like in the picture:

What the hell color is that?

What I learned:

Color is such an emotion-prompting element of a photograph! I have a visceral dislike of the image above, so I've ignored this RAW file entirely.

And then it dawned on me that my emotional reaction was not to the subject, but entirely due to that awful color balance. Playing around — and not for very long — and I converted this RAW file into a color balance that makes the image sing. Can it possibly be that simple? I guess sometimes it is.

2nd Chances: What I might try next