Saturday, November 20, 2010

Please don't squeeze the Charmin

Soft and strong
Toronto, ON
July 2010
About this photo: Thematic Photographic is celebrating candid this week. If you've got a candid shot you'd like to share - or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about - click here.
On a good day, shooting in public is a bit of a highwire act. In this post-9/11 era of paranoia, pulling out a big lens in a wide-open space may not be the smartest thing to do.

But done carefully, with quick, unobtrusive camera technique and a specific focus on avoiding identifying features, public photography is still, if not easy, at least possible. And a good challenge.

So as my brother-in-law and I wandered through Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre on a bright afternoon, I looked over his shoulder and saw Ms. Charmin here. I think he knew I wanted to shoot her before I did. I already had the camera in my hand, so I wheeled and shot. As you can see, composition, focus and exposure are more than a little off. This shot won't be winning any awards, and I highly recommend against clicking it to zoom in - it's just that lousy. In fact, I came pretty close to deleting it off the camera. I kept coming back to it, kicking myself for not being more meticulous.

But that's the thing with candid shots: You may not have the opportunity for meticulousness. When you have zero time to think things through, a flawed result is often better than no result at all. Because photography doesn't always have to be perfect. The world it records, after all, is far from it.

Your turn: Do you self-edit less-than-perfect shots out of your archives? Do you sometimes wish you had held onto something that didn't make the technical grade?

15 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I will self edit old photos only if I have nothing to do.. and no, usually when I delete, I don't end up thinking 'what if'.... I'm pretty sure of what to keep and not... :-)

Nikki-ann said...

It's difficult to get candid shots where I live... I live in a village, so there aren't many people around and so they'd more than likely notice me taking pictures of them (though maybe I could do it with my mobile phone!).

Sometimes I delete photos I think are truly awful, but ones in a while I'll quite like a photo even if I've not done a good job technically... sometimes there's just something about a photo that really should be considered bad... if you get what I mean!

bruce said...

i delete a lot of shots cuz i am just that bad...but a lot of the deletes are on the camera phone... it has a wierd delay so the framed shot is not the shot i actually get...

i never regret anything deleted, but that is cuz i am so scattered on what i am doing that i just plain forget the..... what were we talking about?

yeah its like that...

Max said...

I rarely delete photos, which may not be a good thing. When I go out taking photos I can take quite a few. And quite a few 'don't make the grade'. But I keep them anyway, because I'm a major pack rat and 'what if?' is there in the back of my mind every time I think about cleaning out the archives.

Levonne said...

I need to self-edit shots out of my archive. I save way too much! Candid shots are a special challenge as it requires intrusion into the space of others. I'm not always comfortable with that but think that I should push myself more often in that direction. Thanks for the post Carmi!

Steve Gravano said...

I edit at the computer, not at the camera. I do check focus and exposure the best I can at the time of exposure, but the small screen is a pain to use for me. I've seen many a photographer at events looking at the little screen and missing what's going on in front of them. I always leave home with plenty of empty memory cards and edit at the computer.
Here's my candid http://stevegravano.blogspot.com/2010/11/candid.html

Alexia said...

I usually take waaay too many shots and then have to delete duplicates! I also get rid of fuzzy ones or thoughtlessly-composed ones. Thankfully, I don't have as many mess-ups as I used to.

The Gearheads said...

Don't be so self critical, sometimes the shot is getting what you wanted on camera and not getting the shot perfect, this is a great example of that. Something like this would have been near impossible with full manual mode, something I sometimes miss.
As for self editing, I very rarely delete any pictures off my camera, I find it very difficult unless it's to bleached or too dark.
Then there when I see them on the computer, and still I delete very few shots. Maybe it's a throwback to my film days when I couldn't delete a picture.
-Mr

Sarah Walton said...

I'm doing a course (for middle aged housewives with maids at the Dubai Ladies Club. Oh dear...)for absolute beginner photographers, and the assignment our teacher gave us a few weeks ago was to take talking portraits of complete strangers. I was completely freaked out, and sure I was going to get either assaulted or arrested. But I got there eventually. What I really hate is when you are out and see something amazing like loo-roll girl, and you have to snap with your iphone. And then you seriously feel like a pervert.

Just in case anyone wants to see my awful photos:

http://sandpitdiaries.blogspot.com/2010/11/assignment-5-taking-talking-portraits.html

Tabor said...

It is a good quick shot even if blurred. I also am so self-conscious with public photography. You either carry a telephoto to get something interesting far away and they don't know they are being photographed or you have a small camera for quick but not so candid shots. Ugh.

dennisthemennis.co.uk said...

I have been known to delete but more than often I dont, its what the image says that counts I think. I think some of my best shots are all just pure luck anyway especially candid ones.

Its pro photographers that get my goat, if its not the right exposure or the right fstop, all thats a load of poop if you ask me, I just close my eyes and click!! :)

the question is, was it Charmin ultra or just plain Charmin?

fredamans said...

I keep all my photos, even the ones I'm not sure what to do with. You just never know when they make come in handy. Like these kinds of themes.

kcinnova said...

I usually delete the really bad ones, but I've kept a few pictures of questionable quality because it was all I had of that moment and I wanted to preserve it even if imperfectly.

Ben said...

I don't think I have ever deleted a shot since I started cranking up the 'ol Canon in 2005 or so. It is sometimes fun to dig back in the archives to see that you have shots that really weren't all that bad. Sure hogs up some space though!

Michael Manning said...

I delete from my camera to create more room on the information chip. But I also need to become more savvy about how to upload photos without first burning a CD for $5. I agree with you about life in a post 9/11 world. It is sad, but we must continue on and I'm glad you took this photo. It is funny--Ms. Charmin! :D