Three reasons why you should share your not-so-great photographs

Aug 12, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Three reasons why you should share your not-so-great photographs

Aug 12, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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No matter what genre of photography you shoot, there are images you have in your head that you want to create as examples of “great” photographs. And if you manage to pull them off, then fantastic. You share them far and wide. But what about the pretty good, not terrible, above average, but not great photographs? Should you share those?

That’s the question put forth by landscape photographer Ralph Goldsmith in this video. When it comes to his own answer, it’s a resounding yes, absolutely, share away, and he gives three of his reasons why.

As a landscape photographer, Ralph knows all about coming home with images that aren’t quite what you’d hoped for. For those truly great images, everything has to align just perfectly. And no matter how well you plan, there are things you just can’t always predict. Perhaps there’s a little more cloud than you wanted (or less), maybe the sun’s not shining on the bit you hoped it had, maybe it’s raining.

But Ralph believes you should still shoot and share these imperfect works for three reasons

  1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder – While it may not have quite the same look and feel that usually post, it can open your work up to a whole new audience.
  2. Personal creative development – Those otherwise discarded images can sometimes prove to be quite popular and force you to explore other styles of image to that which you normally shoot. They can help you to learn and grow as a photographer.
  3. Inspiration and education – Posting imperfect images can help other photographers, especially newer ones, realise that even the best photographers don’t always manage to get it right. Only ever looking at those perfect images in magazines and on websites can be discouraging to newer photographers, making them set impossible goals for themselves.

I’m not so sure I agree on the impossible goals bit (I think they can be fantastic motivation!) but seeing the not so great images along the way can be very inspiring. They are mini-goals. Stepping stones along a photographer’s journey.

I also think that sometimes, the emotion of a photograph can also be more overwhelming than the actual technical visual aspect of it. Some of my favourite photographs have had terrible lighting and composition, but the emotion they convey overrides those flaws, making them fantastic images. Sometimes we can’t see that emotion in our own images. Perhaps it’s because our heads are too clouded with the emotions of actually being there. But sharing them anyway can help to provide that validation you need to see if you’re on the right track or not.

Do you share your imperfect photographs? Why do you do it?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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5 responses to “Three reasons why you should share your not-so-great photographs”

  1. Michael Estwik Avatar
    Michael Estwik

    Because people seems to like them anyway.

  2. Tj Ó Seamállaigh Avatar
    Tj Ó Seamállaigh

    I typically keep photos that didn’t work as I want them and test shots; I discard only a few.

    In these times when I’m not motivated enough to work with the camera and with lock down, I spent quite some time checking old photos (as back as 2011) and trying to to process them differently and applying new techniques that I’ve learned just recently. It’s actually amazing how some of those “hopeless” shots turn out to be… something… interesting at least.

  3. Adrian J Nyaoi Avatar
    Adrian J Nyaoi

    Is there such a thing as ‘ a perfect photo’

  4. MegaNickels Avatar
    MegaNickels

    I just got into Panoramic photography so I bought some new gear (
    leveling base and a Nodal Head) and decided I wanted to go out and test
    it. I knew the chances of me getting a great image that day was
    slim to nil since I live in a fly over state and there is next to
    nothing that is interesting here BUT I went anyways because I wanted
    make sure I knew how to properly do a panorama. Well out of 3 hours of
    shooting I managed to get 10 panos with 3 that where in-betweeners. A
    better success rate than I thought I was going to have. I ended up
    learning to enjoy the process of taking panos and also the process of
    editing one. Even though I didn’t get the photos I wanted I still gained
    a lot of knowledge that I can take with me on my next adventure for
    panos.

  5. Brianna Jackson Avatar
    Brianna Jackson

    yes. Hi guys. I want to advice this camera. I have already using it for a year:
    https://amzn.to/2Ef4sc