Sunday, July 24, 2011
How Critical Are You About Your Favourites Collection?
Second question, how many photos do you have in your favourites collection? Over the years I have shot a lot of photos, and selected a lot of favourites; mine was over 200. If I liked it I dropped a 5 star rating on it or moved it to my favourites collection.
Third question, if you were asked to choose your top 10 photos, only 10, could you? Ummm, can I get back to you on that?
This is an exercise that I went through last weekend. It was driven by a number of blog and Twitter posts I have been reading about 500px.com. A photo sharing site that has been getting a lot of publicity lately. My first reaction, before seeing it, was it's just another Flick type site, but when I had a look I was totally blown away. This is definitely not another Flickr. Now don't get me wrong here, there are a lot amazing photos and creative folks on Flickr, but it is also saturated with everyday snapshots. 500px.com is site by photographers for photographers.
A tour of the site had me thinking how some of my work would fare, but that meant deciding what photos would make the cut to be considered anywhere close to what I was seeing from others. That prompted the question I posed above; if you could choose only 10, could you? So I went on a search for my all time top favourites, or as I'm referring to them now my "Portfolio Worthy" photos. To do this I created a new star rating system and set up some new Smart Collections in Lightroom to help, it looks something like this:
1 Star = All crap; delete at will... and fast (i.e., the blurry, the bad and the ugly).
2 Stars = Possibility of potential, but don't hold your breath. They're not exactly in the "delete" cross hairs, but would require a lot of work to bring them up a level or two.
3 Stars = Quality photo, needs some work to get it where I want it, but it could become a favourite.
4 Stars = My personal favourites, (key word here is "personal"). I like everything about them for various reasons. This is where I may have hundreds of photos, and that's ok for me.
5 Stars = This is it, the "Portfolio Worthy" group, the top of my favourites...my answer to the third question I asked above.
I started with my current collection of favourites and began to re-rank them based on my new system. This was not an easy exercise because I like a lot of my photos, as I'm sure you like a lot of yours, too. However, I was trying to be extra critical to force myself to pare down to 10. I couldn't do it! 10 was such a low number and there were a lot of photos that I liked! I ended up with 25 in my "Portfolio Worthy" collection so I decided that 10 was just an unrealistic number to begin with. However, starting with such a low number can really focus you on being very critical and selective, which was what I was aiming for.
Now, I'm not saying that you need to only have 10 photos in your portfolio. As I mentioned this was a truly unrealistic number. But the exercise was about being extremely critical about what you think your best work looks like, and this is the way I approached it.
So my next step is to get these photos up over at www.500px.com, which I will be doing in the next couple of days, and see what others think. It could be good, it could be bad, or it could be ugly. I'll post again once I'm up and running there.