Following last week’s post on becoming your best critic, photographer friend John Voss wrote to share one additional tip: "...waiting for days or longer to see if what you've done still seems really good." In other words, sleep on it. I could not agree more.
Sometimes in the excitement of viewing our images as they first appear on the screen we often have the tendency to do any or all of the following
- Get overly excited about a so-so image for emotional reasons
- Feel disappointed because the unprocessed RAW files don’t meet our immediate expectations
- Overlook more subtle images that have real potential
Enjoy that first look at your images, being sensitive to your tendencies to do any of the above. And then sleep on it. Come back a day or two later for a second, more objective look. Chances are, you’ll see all sorts of things you missed in your excitement (or disappointment) the first time around.
From time to time, I stumble across an entire unprocessed shoot that has been sitting on my computer for a year or more. (These are personal shoots, not client shoots, of course.) They are usually there because I was less than excited with that initial viewing or, if I’ve been shooting on the beach or in the desert, can’t bear the thought of all the spotting required. I set them aside for another day, move on, and then forget about them. I’ve actually found some of my favorite images by rediscovering these lost and forgotten files. Other times, I may return to my original RAW image folder months or years later and see images that I initially passed over that now intrigue me for one reason or another.
Slowing the review process of your work—no matter what kind of work you do—isn’t always easy in a world where clients and employers want things done now. But whether your work is personal or for someone else, it can almost always benefit from sleeping on it.