Will Taking More Photos Up Your Odds?
With memory cards so big these days, it's easy to take a lot of photos. There's no reason not to, right? But will taking more photos improve your odds of getting better images?
There's an old saying that practice makes perfect. In a sense, it's true. In order to get better at something you have to keep at it. But keep at what? If the objective were merely to press the shutter release a whole bunch of times in order to fill up that huge memory card you could stay home. Or perhaps just lean your head out the car window as you drive through a national park. Clearly there's something more.
The question is: what do you put into each of those shutter release presses? If you practice taking pictures without much thought you get really good at taking pictures without thinking much. And when you've done it for a while you sit back, look at your results and compare with others achieve, you may well conclude you're just not a very good photographer.
On the flip side, if you really work at every shot, put as much effort as you can into each one, and labor to do your very best, you will end up with far fewer shots and will probably conclude that photography is hard work. And with so little to show for the time you put into it, you may just end up feeling frustrated and conclude you're not very good at it.
Searching for the best way to improve your photography can be difficult. It can be easy to fall into bad habits on both ends of the spectrum. As I said earlier, you need to consider what you put into each press of the shutter, but also what you get out of each. A middle path is often best.
Learning and improving is an iterative process, but it depends on what you repeat. If you don't try hard enough you will be slow to improve. But if you try too hard it will seem too much like work to enjoy what you are doing. Push yourself, but have some fun too. To some this may sound like basic common sense, but not everyone.
If you've convinced yourself that the secret to success is to shoot more images it can seem like the solution to improve is to redouble your efforts and shoot even more. Or if you are convinced you aren't working hard enough on each shot you may decide you need to push yourself even harder. The trap of thinking you need to do more of whatever you have been doing is an easy one to fall into. I'm guessing that at least a few folks reading this now will find themselves in here somewhere.
Every now and then, take some time out to consider how you have been approaching your craft and how best to get even better at it. That way you can improve the chances that it really is helping rather than hurting.