What do you do with your bad shots? Delete them right away? Leave them in your photo folder to jam up your workflow, never to look at them again? I’m a photo hoarder myself, rarely deleting a photograph in hopes that it will magically not suck next time I look at it. I’m kidding, they never get any better and there is no such thing as magic… Your less than ideal shots do serve a purpose though and that is why I keep them for at least a season and I recommend you do the same.
Every spring, summer, fall, and winter I will revisit my photographs from the previous season to see where my weakness was and correct it. For instance, the photograph above will stay in my photo workflow to remind me what I need to work on next time I visit the beach. I will revisit this photo, and unfortunately a dozen more, next season before going to the beach and make sure I don’t make the same mistake again.
What would I fix? I’m sure everyone that looks at this photograph could pick a handful of things they would have done differently, it’s no Picasso. The composition is bland (think tourist shot) and the wave that is crashing is lost in the cloudy background. Had I moved to the right a few feet, and waited for the clouds to move on, the wave breaking would have been more dramatic and strengthened the composition. Had I moved the camera up, instead of down, the pools of water straight ahead would have created a leading line to the ocean and also strengthened the composition. There are a number of other things that I would have done differently with this shot but I’m glad that I took it. It will serve as a learning tool and push me to continue to strive for perfection (is there such a thing?).
We should evaluate our photography on a regular basis, self-evaluation is important in all aspects of life. Once you are comfortable with your photography and realize that there is always room to improve you can move on to the next step… Join a photo critique forum or discussion (think Flickr). If you’d like to critique the photograph above leave a comment below, I’m always open to others input.