If you google “improve my photography”, it generates well over one million hits. You’ll see sites talking about composition, how to operate your camera, and all the ways you can edit your image.
Before you know it, you have information overload without any real insight on what you should do first.
Let me simplify it for you. You need to start ranking your photos.
Ranking forces you to choose one photo over another.
It can be difficult, especially at the beginning, but trust me, it’s the best thing you can do.
Ranking has so many benefits.
Creativity: It helps to ensure that you’re not taking the same shots over and over again, which is an easy trap to fall into. Rather, once you know that you already have a particular shot, you should be thinking about ways to improve upon it.
Showcase: It’s better to show your very best photos first, whether it’s on your website, to friends or potential clients, or on any other medium. People tend to make judgements based upon first impressions, so it’s best to always put your best photos at the beginning.
Finding your Style: The wonderful thing about photography is that there are so many different styles and approaches. By forcing a ranking to all your images, the process will help you to identify what you like and don’t like. Maybe it’s composition, maybe it’s the lighting, or the pose, or a combination. No matter what it is, once you’ve identified it, you should do more of it, which will also help you to grow as a photographer and to develop your own style.
Think about it this way: 1 amazing photo is better than 100 average photos.
People will remember 1 amazing photo and won’t remember 100 average photos.
Ranking is so fundamentally important that once you start, you shouldn’t stop.
You should rank your best images by trip, subject, location, genre, or sequence.
And every time, you take new photos, you should think about trying to make images that will go to the top of your ranking, or least near the top.
So, you want me to rank all of my photos?
No. Only your very best photos. The photos that you’re proud of and showcase who you are as an artist.
Here’s some guidance: for each trip that I go on, where I may take thousands of photos, I’m going to narrow it down to about 10-20 images max. Remember, you only want to show your very best images.
But wait, you ask, what if I do the ranking wrong?
Here’s the thing: there’s no right or wrong answer, it depends on your personal preferences.
Some people will prefer the image on the left, others will prefer the one on the right. You can always change your ranking any time.
Furthermore, your preferences are likely to change over time as your photography style evolves. So, some of your highest ranked photos now may no longer be in your highest ranked photos in the future. Conversely, in the future you may find an image in your digital archives and wonder how you missed putting it near the top of your rankings.
There’s so many things you can do to improve your photography, but ranking your images is the place to start.
So let me ask you: what is the best photo you’ve taken?