Brooks Jensen Arts

Every Picture Is a Compromise

Lessons from the Also-rans

Most photography websites show the photographer's very best work. Wonderful. But that's not the full story of a creative life. If we want to learn, we'd better pay attention to the images that aren't "greatest hits" and see what lessons they have to offer. Every picture is a compromise — the sum of its parts, optical, technical, visual, emotional, and even cosmic – well, maybe not cosmic, but sometimes spiritual. Success on all fronts is rare. It's ok to learn from those that are not our best.

This is a series about my also-rans, some of which I've been able to improve at bit (i.e., "best effort"), none of which I would consider my best. With each there are lessons worth sharing, so I will.

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Original digital capture

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What I saw that I liked:

Fun grass in the sun.

What I don't like in the picture:

The out of focus background is distracting.

What I learned:

I had chosen the above composition specifically to include the bokeh balls in the background, thinking they might add a second element to the composition that would be nice. Instead, they made a mess. Fortunately, I also composed the shot at left which had the dark forest in the background without any bokeh balls. I much prefer the simpler version without the distractions. In essence, I'm suggesting that your first response to a scene may not always be your best response.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

I wish I had included just a bit more on the bottom of the image so the grasses weren't touching the edge of the frame. Maybe I could ad a bit in Photoshop to accomplish this.