In today’s brave new world of photography, we are drowning with images.
Social media is endless visual spaghetti
We are drowning in images. In our own images, and the images of others.
There is a never ending bowl of visual spaghetti– filling our stomachs, minds, and consuming our attention.
The visual bombardment is relentless.
I’m drowning in images
In today’s world, you need to know what images to keep or ditch.
For example, if you take 1,000 photos– I would recommend you to only keep the few which are truly meaningful to you. And ditch the rest.
Keep or ditch?
I’m sorry, but you gotta do it binary: keep or ditch?
If you are unsure about a photo, or “maybe” about a photo– it might mean you should ditch it.
Ditch “maybe” photos.
Let your ditched photos die on your hard drive
You don’t gotta delete ditched photos. Takes too much time. Just let them die on the digital ether. Let them die on your hard drive, storage, or die on the cloud.
How do I know which photos to keep?
How do you know whether to keep a photo or not?
- Emotion: Do you feel an emotional reaction to your photo? If you don’t feel your heart stirred by your own photo, why keep it?
- Composition: in your eyes is the composition of the photo strong? Is the photo devoid of distractions or superfluous elements? Does the photo have good propositions and visual harmony?
- Soul: can you see a little of yourself and your soul in your photos? Are you the only one who could have made that photo?
When in doubt, throw it out
There a saying, when you see food in the refrigerator and you’re not sure whether it is food or not,
When in doubt, throw it out.
Not sure if that milk is expired, or still good to drink?
When in doubt, throw it out.
Not sure whether your photo is good or not?
When in doubt, throw it out.
I think your photo should either be a “hell fucking yeah!” or a “no.”
Avoid “maybe” photos.
What to keep/ditch in real life?
I actually think in living life, is important to know what to keep or ditch.
Which of your friends, family, or acquaintances will you keep– and who will you ditch?
Which positive memories from your life do you keep, and which negative memories do you ditch?
What few possessions do you want to keep in life, and what superfluous shit do you wanna ditch?
Think of keep/ditch as a life philosophy.
Hell fucking yeah! Or no.
Originally got the idea from Derek Sivers. The idea:
When making big life decisions, only do things that are a “hell fucking yeah!”
If you are given an opportunity in life (job offer, romantic partner, something to experience) and you feel “meh” or luke-warm about it, say “no.”
I try to apply this in my life the following way:
- For business opportunities, I only take business opportunities that are a “hell fucking yeah!” — even if the pay isn’t good. I would rather go for business opportunities that excite me.
- For travel, only go to cities that I feel a “hell fucking yeah!” for– for example, Kyoto, Tokyo, and New York.
- For photography: only photograph what I feel passionately and strongly about.
Don’t listen to me
This is just another mental model for seeing and interacting in the world. It works for me, and has helped simplify my life– via these practical “good enough”, “satisficing”, “heuristics”. It has helped me make better decisions in my life with less stress, anxiety, fear, and hesitation.
For more thoughts on the mind and decision-making, I recommend the books:
- Thinking, fast and slow
- The Paradox of Choice
I’ve re-read each of those books at least three times.
Keep/Ditch in photography
There’s a pretty popular thread on the ERIC KIM FORUM: keep/ditch >
The concept is simple, upload a photo, and you have to write “keep” or “ditch” on the three prior photos.
Of course, getting a keep or ditch isn’t the best feedback. But it’s better than nothing.
If you’re new to photography, start here:
- Free Photography Bootcamp
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Photography
- 100 Photography Tips for Beginners
- A-Z: PHOTOGRAPHY DICTIONARY by ERIC KIM
- Why I Want to Be a Photography Newbie Forever
- PHOTOGRAPHY FLUX.
- 10 Creative Photography Assignments to Re-Inspire You
- 50 Photography Tips by ERIC KIM
The Fundamentals of Photography
- Keep or Ditch?
- What Makes a Good Photo?
- Why Photography?
- Everyone is a Photographer
- How to take better pictures
- How to take better selfies
- How to Paint With Light
- Why Bokeh is Overrated
Technical Photography Settings
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Street Photography
- 70 Street Photography Tips
- 15 Street Photography Techniques
- How to Do What You Love for a Living
- Should I Follow My Passion For a Living?
- How to Create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
- What is the Perfect Camera For You?
- What to Consider When Buying a Camera
- More Megapixels, More Problems
- How to Take Better Photos
- How to Capture Emotion in Your Photos
- How to Create a “Curiosity Gap” in Your Photos
- Composition Lesson #1: Triangles
- Composition Lesson #2: Figure-to-ground
- Composition Lesson #3: Diagonals
- 40 Practical Photography Assignments
- 15 Street Photography Assignments
- 25 Photography New Year’s Resolutions
- Street Photography Contact Sheets
- Street Photography Contact Sheets Volume II
- Debunking the “Myth of the Decisive Moment”
- Each Photo You Take is an “Attempt”
- How to Overcome Photographer’s Block
- Why Do You Need “Inspiration” to Shoot?
- Grain is Beautiful
- Are Filters “Cheating” in Photography?
- Video: Introduction to Editing, Processing, and Workflow in Lightroom
How to Create a Body of Work
Take your street photography to the next level:
- August 27 (Friday): SEATTLE MASTER STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP - [NOW LIVE!]
- September 11 (Saturday): DOWNTOWN LA ADVANCED STREET PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP - [NEW!]
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