A friend once asked me, “Do you want to become good in photography?; Take 10,000 photos!” I am guessing by photo 10,001 I would have taken so many photos that I would have started developing my own unique style and would have learned how to deal with different types of conditions. Well, I don’t think that is enough anymore. With the development of digital cameras, a lot of things are possible now that was not possible with film cameras such as taken an unmanageable amount of photographs.
Yes, the very strength of using digital cameras – the ability to take an almost unlimited amount of photographs – is probably its biggest road block keeping you from becoming a better photographer. Let me see if I can explain better by means of an analogy. Imagine that you are studying for an entrance exam into some elite University. You have a maximum of three attempts and then you will not be considered again because you either have it or you don’t. Well, given that you have so few chances to success you are going to work you heart out to make sure that when you get into that exam room there isn’t one question you can’t answer or for which you are not prepared to deduce and solve. In short, you put a lot more effort into making the most of the limited opportunities. Now, Imagine the situation was relaxed. You can take as many shots at the entrance exam as you want, there are no consequences to failing and there is no pressure – whether internally or externally – to do the best that you can. Then you are going to produce lackluster work.
Perhaps, the restrictions of the old film camera forced us to think twice or more deeply when we took a photograph because we knew that each roll of film cost tons to develop. If that restriction still existed then perhaps after 10,000 photographs I would be at the top of my game. But, with digital photography – that’s it isn’t enough anymore. So how can we take better photographs and improve – Take each shot like it counts.