So, how many pictures if enough? Back in the seventies, two New York Photographers were walking down a street side by side taking photographs. One would take a more measured approach and shoot sporadically. The other was more or less going click, click, click to each and every face he saw which prompted the other to reflect “It was as if he was doing a census…”. Of course the styles were very contrasting. It got me thinking about my own way of working. I’d certainly be more from the measured school of thought and would have no notion of shooting each and every thing I see before me.
I have never worked like that and have no intentions of doing so. And I do think it is something that cannot be forced upon me neither. Each photographer will photograph in a manner that suits them. And dependent on what they are looking for and how they may approach things.
And this forms not only my personal work but also my professional work. In particular my wedding photography work. Even down to the galleries on my website where the average gallery contains somewhere in the region of fifty of so pictures. It gives a taste.
When I started shooting weddings on regular basis from about 2005 / 2006, the average image count in the final set would number at about 180 or so. And this was a very good and consistent number of images to record the story from any wedding.
Lately, and for the past three to four years I deliver anywhere from 300 to 400 pictures in the final set. Or this is what I state. Quite often that number may reach 500 all told Colour AND black & white. Book wise I have stretched out from 50 to 80 or so pictures. Ideally the story of a wedding day can be told in that number of images when it comes to a book.
For me, my job is to record the day as I see it. Try to get a good pulse of the day rather than an itemised set of pictures that just say “this happened, then this happened, then this happened, then this happened…” It just sounds too literal. And exceedingly dull. I will take liberties but I will shoot the day as I see fit. I started out shooting in a documentary / candid style from the off and have moulded that way of working over the previous ten years.
It Is never a case of just pressing the shutter for the entire day. That would be ridiculous, impossible. Yet some would expect that. Not completely understanding that some skill must be taken in getting in and a around a day moving at a good pace. The idea that you can just get a set of pictures of each and every single person and every single thing and more is rather fanciful. I think a passport machine would be a better option for some.
Unfortunately a very small minority want more rather than get to grips and enjoy the images they have instead. And this does seem to happen to each and every photographer. “More pictures!”
As a fellow photographer mentioned to me, he had delivered well over 700 in his final set, which he thought was a bit nuts anyway. Yet the couple still came back and asked for more.
In my opinion I should be delivering fewer pictures. I’d love to go back to the day when I delivered a great set of pictures where the number was just shy of 200 all told. Is that possible? Hardly.
I also just heard that you can get an app to see pictures that your friends haven’t shared. That to me is laughable.
It seems right now we’re living in a time where “more” is the only option. And for a rather small minority I must stress. Zipping tough the set like lightening at what they have and only seeing what they don’t have. As opposed to living with and soaking up what they do have. We’re all guilty of it to a degree. But if we take a step back to appreciate and take time with things then the full picture will unfold. It will open itself up to us.