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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Don't Delete Week

I know there are some photographers who permanently delete their "losers" in an effort to keep their required storage space to a minimum. Some even delete images from the camera while they are in the field! Don't. You never know what the future may hold.

What I learned:

One of my most regrettable flaws as a photographer is that can can become impatient with an image and give up too soon. Typically, I might require half a dozens steps in Lightfoom development to get what I want. A complex image will need maybe a dozen. This image required 63 processing steps in Lightroom before I arrived at the composition at left. Here again, thankfully I didn't delete the recalcitrant RAW capture and give up too early.