Self Expression Magazine

Photographers’ Corner: Shoot Less, Get More

Posted on the 02 December 2017 by Belinda Mccarthy @b_mccarthyphoto
I'd like you to take a little look at the image below. What do you think? Photographers’ Corner: Shoot Less, MorePhotographers’ Corner: Shoot Less, Get More

Image Credit: from

Yep, take a good look at the picture above... it's pretty spot on as far as I'm concerned.

Films have a finite number of exposures, so you had to be so diligent about where and how you pressed that shutter button, to avoid losing the opportunity of taking a great shot when you've filled up your film with piffle. I remember as a child, going to Land's End with my family with the 'house camera' in tow, which happened to be a Polaroid at the time. As we were on a family holiday, we'd already shot a number of images, and had just one picture left in order to capture all of us at this iconic landmark, to record the moment for all eternity. But - as we were getting out of the car, whoever it was who was in charge of the camera accidentally pressed the 'cheese button' as they scrambled out. So what became of our one picture of our family at Land's End? It ended up being a blurry close up of the asphalt floor of the carpark.

Yep, that was what happened in the days before digital cameras. None of this 'take it again until you got it perfect'. You had to concentrate. Ever seen a child at a wedding where there are the disposable cameras on the table? You can be pretty sure that they'll use up every single shot on that camera in the first five minutes, photographing everything else that's on the table, simply because they have never had to live in an era before digital cameras were on every phone and every device. They have never had to stop and think about using those shots wisely.

But what about you, the wedding photographer? Do you stop and think about using your shots wisely? Or do you just 'spray and pray?'

You might be thinking that 'well, I'm not shooting film, I have a big old memory card in my camera. I can take loads of shots to make sure I don't miss the perfect moment, right?' Ok, well, maybe you can. But think a little harder about it. Taking a digital photograph isn't 'free'. Every time you shoot a frame, you're using your camera, and cameras will eventually wear out. If you thought about it in the manner of every click costing you X pence - which in effect, it does - then perhaps you'd be a little more careful about how you shoot and what you shoot.

But there's also a bigger issue at play here for those who shoot a gazillion shots in the hope of getting the required number of good ones. I mean, what are you doing? Are you stopping to think about framing, composition, lighting, exposure, expression, before you press that button? No? Then - sorry to say it - you're just a robot mindlessly pressing a button. You're not being an artist or even a being a professional. And not only that, you're giving yourself endless additional work at the other end of the process by having to wade through tons of rubbish at the editing stage in order to identify the images worthy of presenting to your client.

Shoot less. Shoot more carefully. Think of every shot you take as if you're shooting with film. Make every shot you take count, and I promise that the shots you do take will be more thoughtful, better composed, capturing more meaningful moments. Why? Because you're THINKING more about what you're shooting, and that can only be a good thing for your clients. So yes, keep that camera to your eye almost constantly, but wait, wait, wait for the moment, keep looking until you FEEL that the shot is there for you. Shoot intelligently, just like those who came before us and shot film, and you'll instantly be a better photographer. You'll gain a better sense of timing and also be more instantly responsive to the moment, so you won't miss it when it does occur. At every wedding, challenge yourself to lower your shot count and up your keep percentage. You'll be amazed at what you can do.

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