The 25% Rule in Photography and Life

eric kim street photography mood 11 hanoi
eric kim street photography mood 11 hanoi
Hanoi, 2017

Dear friend,

I have this principle I’ve followed in my photography and life — the “25% rule.”

The 25% rule in photography

eric kim laughing lady contact

The concept is simple. When you’re out taking photos, try to shoot 25% more of a scene (than you think you should).

For example, you see someone you want to photograph. Then you approach them for permission. They say yes. Then you take a few photos, and you feel guilty for wasting their time, and you want to leave.

eric kim laughing lady nyc 2015

When you feel that moment of awkwardness, think of the 25% rule. Try to shoot 25% more than you think you should. So if you’ve shot only 5 photos of them, try to shoot at least 2-3 more photos. Push your limits.

eric kim portrait hanoi cindy
Hanoi, 2017 (portrait by Cindy)

For me, I know that my best photos are often at the end. When I’m photographing a scene, I often get too trapped in one perspective. But when I push myself 25% more, I need to move my position. I take a step closer, or further away. I move left, or right. I try to shoot more verticals instead of just horizontals. I try to use a flash.

25% rule in ‘real life’

eric kim street photography hanoi-0005801

In real life, I also try to apply the 25% rule. When I’m working out, I try to do 25% more repetitions than I think I can. When I’m upset, frustrated, or angry — I try to be 25% more patient. When it comes to pricing in business, I try to price 25% more than I think I should.

Why 25%?

eric kim street photography - mood 10
Hanoi, 2017

I just thought of 25% as a general concept. It can be anything for you — 1%, 5%, 50%, 100%. Whatever helps push you to the next level.

The basic concept is to not become complacent. To push your limits to the next level. To break through the glass ceiling. To soar towards the heavens.

Never stop hustling,

Learn more: Photography 101 >