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An Important Disadvantage of Digital Photography


What? There are disadvantages to shooting in digital?

A disadvantage I've observed when talking with photographers -- professional and amateur -- is the abundance of images we create. That's good, you say. More chances of getting a good image. But wait! Let's analyze this for the few moments.

Is it better to get one great image or 25 not-so-great images?

If you were fortunate to have worked in the days of film with 24 and 36 frames per roll, or better yet, in large format, you may remember the time you took to analyze a photographic opportunity, taking into consideration the cost of your film and its processing. Likely you were pleased with a higher percentage of good images in a single roll or one sheet than with the same number of consecutive images you now create digitally.

My point: Quantity is not related to quality – not even a distant cousin.

Here is a little exercise that will demonstrate what I mean. Give yourself two hours in a specific location and create 20 consecutive images – no more, no less, no deletions. And, importantly, no two images of the same subject. My guess is you will find the exercise more challenging than you imagine.

I gave this assignment to a photographer I mentor and watched her from a distance. It took her 20 minutes before she created her first image. It was in a boat yard, a location foreign to her prior subjects of interest. Later when we looked at them, 80 percent of her images were winners! By her admission, this was very surprising and rewarding.

If you are interested in improving your work, fine-tuning your perspective, and possibly discovering or rediscovering the advantages of taking your time while assessing your opportunities, give it a try. Let me know what you discover.