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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Little Fixes

What I saw that I liked:

The slippers and the woodwork in this Japanese tea house.

What I don't like in the picture:

I am a naive color photographer. I will admit that I didn't even see the difference in light source color balance between the top 3/4 of the image and the blue cast in the bottom quarter. Never even saw it — until I got home and it mocked me.

What I learned:

The simple little fix is to convert an problem child like this into a b/w image and voila — color issues disappear!

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I suppose I could do a linear gradient and try to warm up the blue light in the bottom of the photo. Maybe. It would be trick to get it right, so b/w it is.