I have always said that the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is in what they choose to show to the world. Cartier-Bresson said that “showing your contact sheet is like taking your pants off in public.” The photographer who is willing to show everything to the public, puts their weaknesses on display and waters down the potency of their vision. When photographers flood their portfolio with inferior images for the sake of volume, the images become an albatross hung around the neck of the collection and they drag the work down.
On the other hand, when a photographer is a harsh editor and honest with himself when selecting his portfolio, he will reject the simply adequate in favor of the great, resulting in the elevation of the entire portfolio. The public then sees each photo in the collection as brilliant, and they then assume that everything the photographer shoots is brilliant. When in reality, the number of images the photographer shows is only a fraction of one percent of the number of images taken.
This is not a trick or a marketing ploy to fool the public into thinking you are a better photographer than you are. This is a simple recognition that photography is more than just selecting a subject matter and exposing the image. It is continued in the act of post-production selection, which is as important to the process as is the act of taking the picture itself. Whether this act is accomplished by one person or a team of people, the act of photography is incomplete without both the capture process and the culling process. The sooner a photographer realizes this and puts his or her mind to perfecting the skill of selection, the sooner that photographer will be seen as truly great.
Jared’s Lightroom Workflow Workshop is back on tour. Kansas City, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Savannah and Orlando are all on the schedule Starting on May 4, 2011. To learn more and sign up for the workshop, go to www.jaredplattworkshops.com.
About Jared Platt
Jared Platt is a professional photographer and photographic educator. He studied photography at Arizona State University where he earned his undergraduate and masters degrees in Photography. He teaches college photography courses as well as workshops for professional photographers and provides online education for photographers and photo enthusiast throughout the world.