I am going to take you down the dreaded path to image deletion. It won’t be easy for you since the photographs you accumulate are your creations, your children in a way. It will be hard to let many of them go into the trash, but it is the only way to edit, curate and improve your portfolio.
When I first saw the Canadian Rockies about 7 years ago, they were the first real mountains I had ever seen; in my excitement, I went totally crazy taking pictures without even thinking. Upon returning home, there were so many duplicates of mountains, it amazed me to see that most of the time I didn’t even try to change the composition. I swear there was one mountain photographed at least fifty times from a spot where I must have set down roots. It may happen to you, and if it does, remember, when you get home, it is time to delete all the junk and redundant images. Keep only your best: if you’re not certain about an image, give it some time or ask another photographer whose work you admire. There are many excellent photographers in our club. Seek the one who shoots the subject you have chosen. If you are a portrait photographer, don’t go asking landscape people who may not be familiar with lighting people. After many years of photographing, if an image looks like a bad composition on the LCD, I will get rid of it immediately…I don’t recommend this to beginning photographers because you can make a mistake sometimes, as I have quite a few times. But I do have some recommendations for you:
Don’t delete images until they have been around for a while…I have learned this from experience: you can’t imagine how many times I return home from shooting and immediately look at images and think: these sure suck! After a few days or a week, go back and review them again, then start eliminating duplicates, images with bad lighting and composition, and images with no real focal point.
So many photographers keep everything. What good are those images? When would you possibly use an image that’s out of focus or has horrible composition? Never.
I have had images that I became enamored with even though they appealed to nobody else…don’t let this happen to you. Never get attached to an image that speaks to no one.
Look at your work critically…the best photographers are happy to get one good image out of 100…I am very happy if I can do that when I shoot.
As I have often said in prior posts, look at paintings! Look at the work of great photographers! Shoot every day. There is no excuse for just muddling along with your images; if you want to improve you have to make the effort to learn…post images online on websites like dpchallenge, it is an excellent way to get started entering competitions and getting critique. Also, when the club has critiques send some images and come to critique night.
Remember, people in facebook and flickr love everything…don’t use that as your criteria for keeping an image.
There is a website called 1x.com which has amazing photographers; if you join, you can submit images for critique and curation…even if you don’t join, look at the images: there are many amazing photographs to inspire you.