It was a fine morning, with a giant red ball of a sun peeking through a thin gap in the clouds down near the horizon. Photos just can’t do it justice – though if the exposure had been a tad darker to begin with, that might have gotten a bit closer. Have to try that next time these conditions crop up.
Ah, picture day, picture day, lovely lovely picture day!
What’s picture day?
Every photographer builds up a library of photos. They accumulate, (ideally daily), like a creeping fog that you never notice until it’s upon you and you can’t see more than ten feet in front of your vehicle even with the fog lights on. And suddenly the archive is staring you in the face, silently saying Come loooooook at meeeeee! It’s been soooooo long! Aren’t you interested to see how I’ve grown? Don’t you want to find those wonderful images that hold your memories, and feel those moments again in your mind and heart? Don’t you want to see which ones are worthy of printing, or posting, or selling, or offering as stock?
Picture day is the day I pay heed to that call, and sort through my library.
You know, and it’s not just the memories of where I was and what I was doing when I took the photos that I’m looking at, either. I’m also tagging the photos for easy searching later on, and analyzing them:
“Great focus, but what was the subject?”
“Background’s fuzzy. Didn’t want that, what were the settings again?”
“Aw, crap – rain spots on the lens, how did I not notice that?”
“Okay, what exactly was I thinking on this one…?”
“Ooh, nice focus, good composition, great color. Wonder if the flash would have added anything? I’ll have to try that next time a shot like this comes up.”
“Wicked cool – I don’t remember taking this one! I got everything right – composition, lighting focus – that one’s totally going in the ones to sell!”
Growing as a photographer is as inevitable as the growth of a flower, so long as you decide you want to and you’re willing to take your own criticisms to heart without letting those flaws rule your mood. That’s the key bit of any picture day – take what you see (it’s okay to mourn a little for missed opportunities) and use it to improve instead of letting what you see as flaws drag you down to the point where you’re willing to toss your camera away and never-ever-ever pick it up again.
Chances are, the details you spot as ‘flaws,’ nobody but you is ever going to notice.