Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why I like some of my photos more than others

June and I got to spend 3+ days with some great photographers who are even nicer people last weekend at the Shaker Villiage near Harrodsburg, KY.   The reason for this gathering of friends was to spend time together and of course take lots of photos.   Personally I came home with over 900.   Hey that's only about 300 a day, which is not that much considering.

I'll be working through those photos over the next few weeks.  I've already shared a few on facebook.  I want to share four more here today.

The Hallway


Spiral Staircase

While I'm happy with all four, I like two better than the other two, and it's not because they are better photos.   I used none of my personal creativity on the last two.  They are shots everyone in the group took and are copies of photos taken by dozens if not hundreds of photographers before me.  For the Spiral Staircase photo we took turns going up the two floors and shooting down.  We all pretty much made the same photos.  If placed side by side I don't know if I could tell mine from the next guys.  They are that similar.   The Lemons photo was an attempt to copy a beautiful photo made by Bill Fortney years ago.  We have all made it and added it to our portfolio.   These are not bad photos. Taking these help me to learn what goes into making a good photo.  I'm glad I took them and can share them with others. They are just not my photos.  To me this feels like the photography equivalent of paint by numbers.  There is none of my personal creativity involved.

The first two I made all on my own.  No one said stand here and make this shot.   As far as I know I may be the only one to get these shots this past weekend.   Photographically they are not as good as the Spiral Staircase or Lemons photos, but they are mine and that's why I like them better.   I feel much the same way about iconic landscapes.   Most everyone who goes to Zion National Park stands on the same bridge and takes the same afternoon photo of The Watchman and the Virgin River.  Go ahead and google it and you'll see what I mean.   

There's nothing wrong with taking the iconic shots or attempting to emulate great photographers like Bill Fortney.   In the end I take photos because I enjoy the creative process and that creativity is what makes my photos something I treasure.  My advise is to take those iconic shots, learn from them, enjoy them, but make sure you make your own creative photos.  Those may be your favorites!


  1. Richard - I wish your calendar for 2015 was shots like these simple ones from the Shaker Village. The brooms I love and I don't know if you remember or not but I bought 3 of your broom prints a few years ago. So this one is even more beautiful. The dresses - to me that's what the village is all about. The staircase of course is beautiful but like you said how could that not be a beautiful shot. I like the lemons but I've never seen the original one you mention. But all in all - these Shaker shots would make a beautiful calendar!

  2. Thank you Barbara. Some Shaker Villiage photos may make it into the calendar voting. I'll be picking the 24 or so candidates soon. Stay tuned.