11,973 Photos – Too Many or Not Enough ?

11,973 Photos: Too many, or not enough ?

Before you answer – think about what do Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Salvador Dali and Rembrandt have in common ?.

None of these painters were ‘one hit wonders’; their career and popularity was not based on a single painting. They went to school, learned from the masters, imitated the masters, and developed their own techniques, and most importantly, they practiced their technique…they painted, and painted and painted.

The same for can be said for photographers. Annie Leibovitz, Joe McNally, Ansel Adams,  Yousuf Karsh, Henri Cartier-Bresson were not ‘one hit wonders’; each of these photographers took large numbers of photos during their lifetime.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘Outliers’ he claims that the key to success in any field is, is for the most part due to practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.  The same concept applies to photographers;

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”

― Henri Cartier-Bresson

With modern cameras, you can hold down the shutter release and easily take 10,000 photos. By the math, with a camera that can take 7 frames per second it would take 1428 seconds (or only 24 minutes). Doing this doesn’t achieve anything other than get a blister on your thumb !.

Those 10,000 photos need to be creative, they need intellectual thought, emotion and consideration of point of view, angle, shutter speed, aperture, composition, subject, and lighting. These are but a few things to consider.

Those 11,973 photos – is is enough, or not enough ?. It is not all about the numbers; practice and experience is better.

The take-away message is:

Don’t count the number of photos.

It is better to enjoy what you are doing, learn from what you are doing and and the end of the day, keep only the best.

Be like the monkey in this photo with a bag of garbage: eat (keep) the good stuff, and toss the rest.

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