Photographers – Do you share too much?

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Arizona Photographer, Photography, Prescott, RLC Design 2 Comments

Today’s post title might misdirect you about what I’m talking about.  I share information almost every day.  And I’m always happy to meet other photographers who do this same.  From time to time podcasts are posted here, techniques, information about great locations, etc.  That’s not what I’m talking about.

With the web there’s great information sharing for photographers.  Kelby Training,, smaller independent sites, etc.  Information sharing is at an all time high as far as I’m concerned, and that’s great!

Work in progress

Then what are you talking about Rich?

Simple.  I’m wondering about how you display your work.  How much of it do you display?  When you return from a shoot do you take the time to sort, select, and refine?  Or do you plaster the internet with every shot like some kind of visual vomit?

See, as I’ve been reading around the web, working on growing my business, etc, I’ve been looking at a ton of other photographer sites.  Blogs, main websites, and gallery display sites.  And I’ve got to say that the vast majority of folks don’t seem to be very selective.  Instead they pop up hundreds of images from a single shoot.  And a lot of the images are just plain bad.

Less is more

Years ago when I started following Zack Arias I enjoyed his series of website reviews (called Critique, go watch some).  He’d go through websites that photographers invited him to review, and he’d give a really honest opinion.  Brutally honest.  Great stuff too.

I thought about submitting my site to Zack for like 5 seconds.  Then I sobered up and told myself not yet.  🙂

One theme that kept coming up was too many images in a portfolio.  And too many of the same images.  The same model over and over again implies you only know one model.  Multiple images from the same shoot implies you don’t know how to be selective.  And hundreds of images in a portfolio with klunkers mixed in really leaves the audience wondering.

Additionally, portfolios with stuff scattered all over the map leave potential clients trying to figure out what exactly it is you do.  Commercial, portraits, landscapes, weddings, children, adults, on and on.  I learned a lot from Zack.  And as I’ve been educating myself further by seeing how other photographers operate I’m left to wonder if folks are educating themselves too.

My own process

For my part, here’s how I go at it:

  • Return from a shoot, boot up the Mac, Open Lightroom, setup my import (metadata, correct folders, etc) and start offloading.
  • Eat food or take a shower after the shoot.  4 days in the desert?  Yeah, I start off loading first, then clean up.  I’m excited to see what I got.
  • Well fed and less grungy, I start sorting images.
  • Flag the good stuff.
  • Reject the extremely bad stuff.
  • Skip the stuff in the middle and save for later.
  • Once the flagging is done I filter on picked photos only.
  • I then sort through the picks once again, and I select only the gems and 5 star them.  Now I’ve got picked 5 star images.
  • If there’s post processing to be done I start in on it.
  • Somewhere in that mix I might pop up three or four images on the blog or Facebook.  If they’re unfinished I note that.
  • Normally you don’t see many more photos from that shoot.  Clients do, or if they’re for me, they get printed here and go on the walls.
There’s my process.  I can firmly say you don’t see hundreds of photos from a trip or session going up on my website or any other website for that matter.  It’s a matter of being selective here on the blog, on my main portfolio site, Facbook, Twitter, etc.  Honestly, after a 4 day trip to a favorite spot I’m lucky to come away with 20 images I really like, and maybe 4-5 gems that make it into print.  And that’s after sorting hundreds of images.
So what is it with all these galleries and sites I’ve been seeing online?  I mean people are literally posting hundreds of images in an album from a portrait session.  And really there’s a few gems and a ton of klunkers.  Why are these being shared with clients and viewers????  Do you not want to invest the time on the back end for your clients?  Do you really think every image you shot was good?  I know many pros who all seem to work the same.  10% of what you shoot has some merit.  From that 10% you’ll find your gems.  The rest?  Yeah, DELETE.
From my readings on Best Business Practices in Photography, a few posing guides,, and other places I have a theory.  This is an amateur practice.  Folks just “spray away” with the camera hoping to get a gem somewhere in the rapid firing.  That’s not really being a photographer, it’s more like a camera operator.  There’s a difference.  And there’s a difference in the level of pride photographers take when displaying their work.
Got any theories?  I’d love to hear some.
The above shot is not a gem.  It’s a background for compositing.  Neat cloud sure, but there’s no story in it.  Snapshot.

Comments 2

  1. I probably share too much, but I haven’t put out a heck of a lot lately. I try to process the best of what I shoot and post that and sometimes I may get a little carried away with the particular series, where it becomes too much. Oh well, it’s still fun anyway…

  2. I agree! I hate visiting someone’s Flickr site only to find it filled with what seems to be *all* of their photos.

    What I do is similar to what you outlined above. I’ll pick multiples of the same shot and then decide which to share.

    I end up sharing 15-40 shots on Flickr, and put the 3-10 best on my blog.

    The reason that I sometimes post so many is that I sometimes really like what I’ve done; I know, I know.

    If you’re interested, check out my Flickr site or my blog to see examples of what I’m talking about.

    (Sorry, not trying to spam you by linking to my sites I think they do serve as good examples of good filtering w/occasional lapses 🙂

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