On Quantity Over Quality: one does not breed the other
Last week I spoke to an acquaintance who works downtown at a coffeeshop. She’s a bit pf a photographer herself, and often picks my brain if I’m having breakfast on a slow day. We were talking about the fact that I learned to take photographs with film, so I don’t tend to blaze through memory cards; I take photographs in my camera, not in my editing software.
The topic shifted to weddings. She asked how many photos I took at the last wedding I shot*. I had to think. “About four hundred, I suspect”. Her face looked horrified. “My minimum is four thousand”, she said, “I took three thousand at the last wedding I shot and I was worried.”
I present this as a very stark example of where photography has gone. Technology enables us to do so much more, which results in us doing so little.
How does one process four thousand photos? How many does she give to the client?
How, amongst five thousand burst-shot photographs, does one find the ones that stand out? And furthermore, if you take four thousand photographs in a three hour span, how much time and, perhaps most importantly, how much thought could you be putting into any of them?
I readily admit to being a complete photography snob, to often taking the holier-than-thou route with regard to shooting with film, and to turning up my nose to those who spend extensive time in their editing software applying their greenish hues and cavernous vignettes with a heavy hand.† But all that notwithstanding, imagine a young photographer twenty years ago telling his client he’d have to take a hundred rolls of film in order to get enough good ones. It would be not only unsustainable but unprofessional to boot.
What does that mean, exactly? To me it means a lot of photographers assume if you take enough pictures you’re bound to get some good ones. The monkeys have traded their typewriters for dSLRs.
* It was a fairly short, simple wedding. I’d say on average my number is closer to 600-800.