Sunday, February 1, 2009

Texas Renaissance Festival revisited

A few days ago, Larry Patrick posted in his blog about his photo editing process - how he keeps only a few of the best shots from a photo shoot and throws away the others, reasoning that if they aren't that good on a first lookover they will never be used and only take up valuable space on a hard drive or cause you to spend inordinate amounts of time trying to make an average image into something that it's not. Hence the saying, "you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear" comes to mind. He and I have a friendly disagreement over this issue. I, on the other hand, keep about 75% of my images - mentally filing away the knowledge that there are good photos from a shoot that with a little work can become printable images. I feel that with current camera's abilities to focus and expose, unless I just flat out blow an exposure or focus the image is salvagable. So the image above is one like that - one that I knew with some work could be a pretty good image. I didn't want to invest the time back then, but I did last week and entered it into OnOne Software's January Photo Contest. It was taken at the Texas Renaissance Festival in October with Larry as my VAL. So, Larry --- here's to sow's ears. :-)


  1. Steve, I'm with you on keeping most of my shots. I dump the out of focus ones after uploading to my computer. Throughout the review process I will dump the truly blown out photos that cannot be recovered using Photoshop or Lightroom. Other than that I'll keep them.

    There are many shots I would have dropped were it not for new software and techniques that just seem to keep on coming. Hard drive space is cheap, even using redundant backups.

    This shot is great and it would have been a shame if you had previously dumped it for whatever reason. I can picture this being one of the demos for OnOne software.


  2. Let me see. Good lighting. Great expression. Pretty girl with lots of personality. Would Larry keep a shot like this one? Da, YES.

    I was there when you took it. I saw it on the back of your camera. I thought that it was a really good image then. This one proves nothing regarding our differences of opinion on keeping a lot of photographs.

    The only thing that this one needed was for you to "add to" the photograph with your post processing; and you did!

  3. I'm a little late to this conversation, but I believe in keeping all my shots except the ones where I accidentally trip the shutter while the camera is pointed at my shoes. I've had several shots that I skipped over the first time, such as Durong Girl and Claudia #21.

    In Durong Girl, the sky was mostly blown-out but had enough clouds to be really annoying and distracting. I ended up using the Quick Selection tool to delete the sky and leave it transparent. When I placed the photo in a newsletter I was putting together, the text flowed into the transparent area and made the photo fit in just right.

    I passed over Claudia #21 several times during editing and decided that I didn't like it. I'm glad I didn't throw it away, however, because I came back to it six months later and saw some potential. You can see in the before and after comparison that the original shot had some pretty glaring problems, which is why I passed it over. When I saw it again months later, I realized that it wouldn't take that much work to make it a decent shot. It's not a world-class image by any stretch of the imagination, but Claudia loved it.

    As Doug and others have said, hard drive space is cheap. What happens when, three years down the road, someone dies and you deleted the only picture you had of them because it wasn't tack sharp? Or perhaps someone in one of your shots becomes famous - your photo, however bad, may become highly sought-after because of its newsworthiness.