10 Habits to Better Photos: #5 When Trimming Images – Bring a Chainsaw

Habit #4 was to shoot, shoot, shoot.  Now – care about your audience and ruthlessly cull your images.

Bottom line: Don’t submit your readers to 7 angles of the same flower.  Give them 1 image of the flower – and then stop.  Move to the next image.

rough stock example for blog-1Even if you have two perfectly exposed and framed images of the same point in the story – keep only one to show folks in any one portfolio.

Why?  Well – your audience is looking for something new and unique.  They’re looking for a captivating image that tells a fresh story.  The second image at the same point in the story is no longer new or fresh – and you’ve just lost a tiny bit of your audience’s attention.  Do this too many times – and you’ve lost them completely – and it turns into just another evening of flipping through boring snapshots – regardless of your quality.

On the other hand – if you spare your audience from redundancy – and keep them engaged with fresh imagery – and only for a short time – they’ll walk away hoping to see your stuff again.

An example?  Let’s look at the WSJ’s daily Photo Journal.  It’s typically 16 high impact images each day.  Could it be more?  Yes.  But it’s not.  And everyday folks go back looking for more stunning images.

When to break this rule?  Event photography.

When I’m posting for an event – I’ll post more images than if I were creating a portfolio – a lot more – as any one of my event galleries may have 200+ images in it.

The difference here?  For the event – participants, family, and friends are looking for pics of themselves or loved ones in top action.  For anyone else?  They’re not as attached to the event – and they’re looking for the highlights – the really cool stuff.

As for the concise portfolio – there aren’t a lot of rules – except to share only your best.  And unless you’re retelling a year adventure around the globe – it’s probably safe to stay with less than 50 images.  My preference is to stay within 20-30 photos.

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