Chris J Wilson

Krakow Street photographer

Aim For Wow

In photography, and other areas, you shouldn’t settle for average but aim for wow.

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This quote was something someone reminded me of when I was trying to select a logo design for a community I was involved with. I was humming and har-ing over a design option. The designer told me this quote and I then came back with something different full of wow.

The thing is this shouldn’t just be true of design elements but also of Photos. We should aim for WOW photos.

There are three reactions to an element of Design. Yes, no and wow! Wow is the one to aim for - Milton GlaserClick To Tweet

Aiming for Wow

Taking a bad photo is very very easy. Taking a slightly better one, not hard, taking a good one is tricky but most people can take a fairly good photos with a little bit of training and help. However, taking a great photo is very very difficult. Don’t believe me, here are some quotes worth thinking about.

I took 40,000 photos in 3 years. 50 I like.” – Charlie Kirk

Even highly experienced and great photographers take average and even bad photos from time to time, the difference is they keep working and striving for great photos. When I started taking photos, I used to take one photo and then move on (unless I had accidently shaken and blurred it), now I’m at a stage where I’ll take a few, some where between 5 and 20 depending on the moment, but a great photographer may well take even more of a single scene. After all that work they will only pick one photo (maybe two) which they will actually show off.

Being Picky in Street

Of course, in certain photographic genres you can control the environment a bit more to help you get a great shot without having to take as many shots. If you are using a model then you can pose them, in a studio you can change the background, with landscape photography you can choose the right time of day to shoot. In contrast, street photography can be less forgiving. Often you are not in control of these elements (although you can pick better times to go out shoot, you can find a good stage and you can always redirect a subject if you see them do something interesting [though not everyone likes this in street.]

This can lead to photographers lowering their standards and only “okay” photos instead of great photos [I raise my hand in confession]. However, if you want to present yourself as a great photographer (and not just a good one) then you need to cull your photos and only show great photos.

Only Publish your GREAT photos

So my challenge to myself and to you is to only publish great photos, don’t settle for okay anymore but raise your standard to a new level.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English as a Foreign Language teacher in Krakow, Poland in my spare time I love taking photos. This is my blog.

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2 Replies

  1. I see what you mean, the hard thing is figuring out what you consider a wow photo to be. i think its worth mentioning that you have to disconnect from your images and decide later, when you look at them objectively, what is your wow shot. As time goes by, i found that i uploaded some shots that in the past i considered to be great but now they’re just – meeh ok… I think for a portfolio you have to be critical on selection and be as objective as you can but if you upload weekly on social media – i think you upload coz the photo means smth to you or you want to make some kind of statement..
    Cheers Chris

    1. Chris Wilson

      That’s definitely. I think our views of our photos change over time as we see them in a different light. I know I’ve had some images which I thought were amazing and slowly over time I feel out of love for them. I’ve also had the reverse where I’ve grown more attached to images over time. I think it’s a really good idea to wait before you share (I should do that more!) and also sharing things which mean something, whatever that is. I think something which is great about something like Instagram or snapchat is that the things (can) disappear. You can share something and then remove it later if you don’t really like it anymore. A portfolio I feel should change more slowly and should take longer for an image to make it’s way on to. Speaking of which, I need to set up a new personal portfolio page 😛

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