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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?