Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Good Enough" is not "Good Enough"

The photographers arch-nemesis....Good Enough. No, good enough is not good enough. If you ever hear yourself say "This is good enough" delete it. Your work should mean more to you than that. You should do everything in your power to insure that every image you produce is as good as you can possibly make it.

Photography is an exacting skill. I can look at every image that I have ever shot and find something that I would like to improve. Every one. Every single one. But at the time that I shot them, I had done all that I could do to make them as close to the image I had in my mind when I shot them.

Now sometimes, this takes only seconds. You are out in the field with your camera and happen upon a scene you want to photograph. Before your camera comes up to your eye you should have a very good idea of what you want your final image to look like. You might have to take a few shots, and you might have to do some post-processing. You might even have to wait for the right conditions or for the plan to come together in your mind.

This particular image was six weeks in the making. I first spotted this wooden vase six weeks ago and I knew I had to incorporate it into an image. How was I going to do it? I started to formulate ideas in my mind.... worked on compositions in my head. Thought about color palettes and lighting. When I got it to where I wanted it in my head, then I had to find the pieces to the puzzle. The vase I had already found. So I needed the pedestal and the flower. Then I needed the right colored wall with the right texture with the right wainscoting in the right relationship to windows for natural light. Piece of cake. So six weeks later, I was ready to shoot. The stage was set and my camera set up. I placed the camera on the mandatory tripod and framed it up. I adjusted the individual pieces of the composition and framed it up again. I readjusted the items and reframed it. Then I moved my tripod and framed it again. OK, ready to shoot....wait, the light isn't right. Five hours later, the light was right. I snapped one frame and looked at the preview on my LCD. Not quite right due to the little bit of extra space that doesn't show through the viewfinder. I reframed it and snapped one more frame. This one was right. Just as I had seen it in my mind. I got it loaded on to my computer and opened it up full screen. No cropping, a little bit of dodging and burning, a little unsharp mask and it was done. Six weeks to plan and execute and less than an hour on the computer. I can say that this is as good as I can get it. There is nothing that I would change. At least, not right now.

14 comments:

Stephanie said...

and THIS is just an example of why you are my mentor. I get it...good enough is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Thanks for always inspiring me to be the best!!!

Peter said...

Hi Scott,

Just goes to show how much work can go into a photograph - not just the execution but also the planning! It was certainly worth the effort - it's an amazing image!!

Peter

Rosebud Collection said...

I think when you are creative, you are always looking for ways to get better. Sometimes we are very hard on ourselves, but that is what makes wonderful art/pictures..

Space Oddities said...

beautiful shot! i love your work.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your insight. I thought I was the only "self-critic" in the world. In my mind, my shots are never good enough, but now I shall focus on that "image in my mind". By the way, your image is awesome!

tatsuko said...

Very nice. Has the look and feel of a painting...

femputer said...

Very beautiful. Thanks for encouraging us to realize our visions. :)

IslandBaby said...

Absolutely stunning! Perfectionism at its finest :)

Callooh Callay said...

Beautiful shot! It's inspiring for a non-professional photography buff to read your blog and get the message: slow down and think about it.

Lynn said...

Incredible shot and even more amazing lesson!! Thank you for opening my eyes...and mind!

Hey Harriet said...

That's all very well in theory, but when I do everything in my power to produce an image as good as I can possibly make it, it so often still is NOT GOOD! ;)

Jokes aside, I totally understand what you mean. Very insightful. Thanks for sharing. & I LOVE your photography!& your passion for your art is very inspiring :)

Crazy Times Candle & Bath Co. said...

What an amazing photo!

I really enjoyed reading your in-depth process. I admire how much time and effort goes into creating such a great work.

TotusMel said...

Absolutely correct.

Rosebud Collection said...

snowing here too...