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Roger Hicks
06-01-2010, 07:36
... you have to decide which pictures you are going to use (put on the wall, on the web, in a book...). 'Sooner' is while you're shooting; 'later' is when you're editing. Either way, you have to decide. No decent human being inflicts 43 near-identical photographs on anyone, unless there's a very good reason. Or on themselves, for that matter.

You can save yourself a lot of time and grief by not taking too many pictures at the shooting stage: in other words, by not overshooting. But what is overshooting?

For me, it's taking another, virtually identical picture that isn't clearly better than the one you've already got. Sure, if you're in doubt, shoot anyway. By all means shoot from a different angle, or with a different lens. But don't just shoot the same picture again and again, for no better reason than because you can.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? Well, I won't show you the 300-odd 35mm and 645 pictures that Frances and I shot from hired boats on the Ganges in the early morning, three mornings in a row, about 25 years ago. There are probably about 10 good pictures there, and we could have got them with a third of the film.

But how do you define 'overshooting'? If, indeed, you believe it exists?

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
06-01-2010, 07:44
You've clearly not met my farther in law

gns
06-01-2010, 07:49
People have different approaches. And valid personal reasons for them. What seems like over-shooting to one may seem frugal to another. It's only the results that matter.

Cheers,
Gary

rpsawin
06-01-2010, 07:53
I can tell that I have overshot when the little voice in my head says "That was a waste":rolleyes:

Best regards,

Bob

tbarker13
06-01-2010, 07:53
It's an interesting question. Particularly in our digital era, where it costs virtually nothing to shoot extra frames on a flash card.
I've always been something for a volume shooter - I was with film, and still am with digital. I think a lot of that has to do with my photographic upbringing - studied photojournalism in college and interned at a metro daily before changing paths and becoming a reporter.
But the photographers I learned from hammered into my head this idea that coming back from an assignment with too many options was much better than coming back from an assignment without enough options.

In the end, I don't spend much time thinking about it. I shoot whenever I feel like tripping the shutter. Sometimes that very slight difference from frame to frame (particularly when shooting a portrait session) can make a huge difference - at least to me.

I have, however, tried to become a bit more disciplined when shooting things like landscapes.

Roger Hicks
06-01-2010, 08:09
People have different approaches. And valid personal reasons for them. What seems like over-shooting to one may seem frugal to another. It's only the results that matter.

Cheers,
Gary

Dear Gary,

Quite. That's why I was wondering what criteria others use.

Cheers,

R.

gns
06-01-2010, 08:34
Well, personally, I usually take at least a few frames of a given scene and sometimes 20 or 30. If there is a lot going on in the scene or movement, that's a good reason to make several shots. You just can't pay attention to everything in the frame. Even if things are static and I have all the time in the world, I will still often take several shots just to try something different. Trying to get away from what I think will be a good picture because that often turns out to be just a picture that looks like another picture (mine or someone else's).

Cheers,
Gary

stevew
06-01-2010, 08:46
Roger,

As has been mentioned, depends alot on the purpose such as news. For most hobby and landscape, digital has made it too easy to shoot "Too Much"". People bang away too make sure they got something and get alot of mediocre "Something" and can't decide what to print. I shoot digital also but might only shoot a couple hundred clicks on a week outing, it is so easy to click away but we have to back up all this data or decide what to delete. I recently scanned some 4x5 shots from 1983, a week in Yosemite that were never printed, 45 negs total and some very fine images. I looked through some of my old contacts (35mm, 120, 4x5) from late 70's, about 200 pages, alot of friends I know longer remember there names and places I forget. There are probably 20 images that I would like to scan and print. There is something magical about pulling and old negative out (man, I didn't have to back that up) and printing, but it is work and makes it more precious.

rover
06-01-2010, 08:53
You've clearly not met my farther in law

I hate when the first reply is the "best", the one I was going to state.

Yes, my parents want to see the 4 almost exact shots of my son playing tombone from the parade yesterday.

It depends on your audiance, you must satisfy your customer.

That said, when I am out alone, shoting for myself, then one is mostly enough.

oftheherd
06-01-2010, 08:54
Well, I think there are times when you change the composition, see different light, or perhaps different action, and you may take more than one shot. But then it really isn't the same shot. I have done that, especially when I thought I "saw" more than one photo in the changes I made.

Now if someone could just tell me how to explain that to my wife, I would be eternally grateful: "Why did you take so many shots of the same thing? That development and printing costs money you know." :D

Turtle
06-01-2010, 08:55
Over shooting is something all photographers have to go through to learn. As one better understands what works and when one has captured a particular sense of a subject, the shooting can stop. Until you have passed through that point time and time again, you cannot appreciate where it lies.

Roger, what you are talking about is quite simply experience and it varies depending on the photographer and also their experience as it relates to the photography being undertaken. When I shoot in a way I am not familiar, it have to get learn by feel when to stop and move on. I think part of it is seeing results - lots of them - and relating them to what you see through the viewfinder. In time one no longer needs to look at the results to be fairly sure what will be there.

I am still shooting a long-term project and currently walk past opportunities I would have given my right arm for a few years ago because I am looking for new things, not squeezing another 1% out of something I have already heavily shot. New images, new perspective, however imperfectly shot, will do my work much more good.

I think what I am trying to say is that once you are really confident you know the relationship between what you see and what you will get on film/file... and know what you shot, you do not end up shooting loads of inferior images. At this point is not about shooting as such, but evaluating what you are looking at and essentially comparing it to what you know you already shot.

Turtle
06-01-2010, 09:09
When one has a one (or few) image goal and loads of time, shooting a scene to death can make some sense, but it tends to introduce a creative myopia that results in more action and less creativity. The other problem is that when time is limited (like in India at the Ganges) you miss out on potentially wonderful opportunities because you are still shooting to death scene 1. We've all done it, but it is certainly a liberation when one gets part this point. I remember shooting some waterfalls in Zimbabwe in my early years behind a camera. I find it very interesting to look back at them.. so, so many...

antiquark
06-01-2010, 09:13
With digital, it's pretty easy to skip through 200 pictures on your computer, and quickly discard the non-keepers. My photo software (Canon Photo-something-or-other) lets you apply a star rating to the picture as you're viewing it. That way, you can make multiple passes, thinning the herd as you go.

When I end up with a bunch of near-duplicates, I just print them all at Walmart for 19 cents a shot, and give the excess to the inlaws. :)

kshapero
06-01-2010, 09:16
Overshooting happens mostly when I shoot digital and about right shooting happens when I use film, probably because I have to pay for it.

gns
06-01-2010, 09:21
I have not noticed any difference in the amount I shoot with digital vs. 35mm film.

Andy Kibber
06-01-2010, 09:23
I've never been a terribly prolific shooter, but I must admit that I shoot a bit more since moving primarily to digital.

When shooting film, it cost me about $0.60 a frame. Now that I don't have that price hanging over my head, I'm much inclined to take a few extra photos or shoot things that I wouldn't have in the past. Sometimes I get an unexpected keeper.

To attempt to answer the original question, I define overshooting as taking so many pictures that I get annoyed when editing. If I bore others with half a dozen pictures of the same thing, that's not overshooting, that's under editing.

robert blu
06-01-2010, 09:28
Difficult question, I'm getting a little confused...maybe the ...age does not help !
As amateur who learned to take pictures with a rolleiflex (12 fram per film) it was already surprising the benefit to have 36 frames on the same roll. Now the technology gives the possibility to have so many frames you like so why not to benefit from it? Specially for the ones who take pictures as a job. I understand when people shoot many "alternatives", different points of view, angle, lenses. As said even in portrait in a fraction of time an expression can change and destroy an image. Or make it wonderfull. But I see, among amateurs, so many almost identical images shot just in the hope taht "something" happens and one is better than the others, witn no research for alternatives. This is in my opinion, which can be wrong, what I would define overshooting.
robert

wgerrard
06-01-2010, 09:28
If I can't tell the difference between even two photos, I've shot too much. Something needs to change. My subject can change (something/someone moves, shadows come in, etc.) or I can change (different aperture, different lens, etc.) If nothing changes, odds are the images won't either.

Phantomas
06-01-2010, 09:47
Never. Actually, seriously. Unfortunately. But hopefully...

Andy Kibber
06-01-2010, 09:51
Never. Actually, seriously. Unfortunately. But hopefully...

I couldn't have said it better myself!

JohnTF
06-01-2010, 10:02
If I catch a scene that I know is good, if I am prepared, I will normally capture what I want in a couple of frames, if it is fleeting, that is it, regardless.

If it is some place I may never return, or the conditions are unique, the fog is just right, the scene is never going to be there, and if I have time and film, I shoot perhaps a roll, (which may be 8-16 shots on MF). I have had frames, indeed entire rolls, ruined in processing.

Normally, the situation is not static enough to get more than a couple of frames, but film is your cheapest variable. Time and opportunity are precious.

If you shoot a few more, once you feel you have got it, that's fine, you can file away the spares, no one says you have to show them.

I have made shots of people several times in which one frame is really what I wanted, but the next, a second later is really nothing I would want to show to anyone.

If you are paying attention (sometimes some pay more attention afterwards than during the shooting), you may really know when the shutter release is pressed it is a special frame. Digital cameras with delay drive me a bit crazy.

You can lose patience and spray and pray, especially with digital, and I think that is overshooting. If you are not specifically thinking about each frame when you are shooting, it is not a good sign.

If you are shooting a thousand photographs of a wedding, you must be fatiguing someone, and that is overshooting, are they going to recall the wedding or you?

But this is event shooting, not an attempt to capture a special frame, I did not think you were referring to that. I always shoot three of groups, and I used to use a TLR because I could see the faces during the exposure.


Plus, we must always keep mind of the dancing photographers with motor drives shooting 60 or more shots per minute, a couple of feet away, of a quickly moving model in Hollywood's impression of a shoot-- sometimes we are expected to keep up the image. Funny how Digital cameras in movies still have motor drive sound effects?

Regards, John

amateriat
06-01-2010, 10:10
When comparing the relative costs of film and digital in terms of volume of images shot, the one "fixed cost" sometimes ignored is the time required for all that editing, whether at the light box or the screen.

I believe in shooting what I feel is necessary to get the shot, but that quantity has gone down considerably over the years. Even back when I was toting around five-frame-per-second SLRs, I usually had the frame-rate set to "single" instead of "Automatic Slim" because laying down one-sixth of a roll in the blink of an eye (1) usually didn't garner the desired results, and (2) was largely a waste of time in editing. This experience was confirmed when I worked for six years at a stock-photo agency (on the editing-desk side, not behind the camera).

The currently-popular shoot-chimp-shoot method seems almot the polar opposite, but let's not even go there for now.

The bottom line (IMO, of course) is to shoot as much as (1) makes you feel confident that you got the shot, and (2) you can tolerate sitting and editing. But no more than that. :)


- Barrett

alun severn
06-01-2010, 11:06
Good question, Roger. Overshooting -- personally it depends on how mean and/or enthusiastic I feel. If very mean, I will shoot very frugally; if on the other hand, I feel pretty enthusiastic about whatever it is I'm shooting then I'll shoot more liberally. Only the editing reveals which of my feelings was correct! But my frugal might be someone else's liberal, and vice versa.

Apart from cost and time, I'm not sure that the actual volume of shooting really matters. What does matter is the volume -- and the ruthlessness -- of the editing.

robert blu
06-01-2010, 11:52
Barret says :The bottom line (IMO, of course) is to shoot as much as (1) makes you feel confident that you got the shot, and (2) you can tolerate sitting and editing. But no more than that.
I fully agree. And editing is the keyword...
robert

Steve Bellayr
06-01-2010, 12:03
The photograph must tell a story. How many photographs do you need to tell your story? If I are taking landscape photos are they truely unique or am I duplicating something I can buy in a gift shop? If I think that my shot will be another travelogue photo I pass it up. With people I find that I can shoot more because their expressions change. Often times two very similiar photos are very different when compared side by side. Sometimes I take six or more photos of an individual at the same location ;minutes apart but later when they are processed in each one the person has a different expression. Did I take too many? For me No.

ederek
06-01-2010, 12:46
It's a good topic - one I try and keep in mind and keep an eye on.

One basic consideration is: am I "THE" photographer at an event, or an attendee taking some shots? As a participant grabbing shots for myself or to share informally with friends, I'm usually ok about not over-shooting.

Film vs Digital: a major consideration. Film is very costly (time, money or both) to acquire, carry, load, process and scan. I figure about 50 cents to $1 / frame for film and in general, I probably under-shoot with film. Hard drives are relatively low cost for the number of images they will hold (a 1TB drive is $100 and holds >50K compressed raw M9 files, double that for a backup drive - therefore if I never deleted an image they'd still cost less than 1/2 cent each). With digital, pay for the body and then shots are almost free.

Another factor is the type of shooting. I take quite a few more frames when shooting concerts/shows in low light. It's hard to know "sooner" while youre shooting if youve got good shots, as even zooming in on the screen of a digital I can't reliably tell if the sharpness is there versus later.

Here's an example, where I was traveling, a good band was playing, so I decided to shoot the show, but in a relaxed way (didn't move around too much, only one or two lens changes). Of 200+ images taken, I included about 25 in a gallery. Shot maybe 300 frames the whole night.
Here's the gallery, set to start at the 1st shot of the main band:
http://bit.ly/dxKkyj
Not the best images, but I'm happy with the gallery given they are a set of vacation photos, and allowed me to share some of the energy of a band I saw while traveling.

BTW, I've shot as many frames with the M9 in the past 2 months as I was on track to shoot with the M4's in 10 years. Haven't felt I've been overshooting too often, it's just very different. It also felt awesome to load a fresh roll of Tri-X last weekend...

Jamie123
06-01-2010, 13:46
... you have to decide which pictures you are going to use (put on the wall, on the web, in a book...). 'Sooner' is while you're shooting; 'later' is when you're editing. Either way, you have to decide. No decent human being inflicts 43 near-identical photographs on anyone, unless there's a very good reason. Or on themselves, for that matter.

You can save yourself a lot of time and grief by not taking too many pictures at the shooting stage: in other words, by not overshooting. But what is overshooting?

For me, it's taking another, virtually identical picture that isn't clearly better than the one you've already got. Sure, if you're in doubt, shoot anyway. By all means shoot from a different angle, or with a different lens. But don't just shoot the same picture again and again, for no better reason than because you can.

Why do I feel so strongly about this? Well, I won't show you the 300-odd 35mm and 645 pictures that Frances and I shot from hired boats on the Ganges in the early morning, three mornings in a row, about 25 years ago. There are probably about 10 good pictures there, and we could have got them with a third of the film.

But how do you define 'overshooting'? If, indeed, you believe it exists?

Cheers,

R.

I there are various legitimate reasons and situations where 'overshooting' is necessary. Most of all it's just a safety net, it's the extra few exposures 'just in case'. Sure, the more experienced you get the less you actually need the safety net but it's still prudent to have one. An experienced rock climber might know that he can climb a mountain without slipping but that doesn't mean he won't use a safety rope.

When I worked at an agency in London a couple of years ago there were a few (very successful) photographers who had just switched to digital. It was interesting to see that they worked much more efficiently with digital, actually taking less pictures for the simple reason that they knew when they had it.

Personally, I never rarely more than two similar exposures when I'm just photographing for myself. However, when I work for someone else or when I'm working on a personal project I care about I just have to 'overshoot'. Nothing worse than getting back your negs from the lab just to find out that in that one great photo you thought you had taken the model is blinking or that you slightly missed focus.

cnphoto
06-01-2010, 14:13
I take a photo and move along, i just make sure that that photo in the viewfinder matches what I saw in my head before I shot it.

I was the same with digital, I came from shooting bands for magazines where I have about 10 minutes to shoot a show. I learnt early on hammering frames gave me a lot of crap, setting myself up for that one shot gave me one good photo, seeing ahead of time and preempting the 'moment' was necessary even if I was ony right 50% of the time I still had more 'keepers' for considerably less photos (and it reduced editing time drastically).

I still hear the younger kids who shoot at shows lamenting the hundreds of photos they need to sort through when they get home, I'd have maybe 20 at most. Now it's 1 roll.

If I miss a shot, I miss a shot and I'll see why when I develop the roll and make a mental note for consideration the next time I find myself in the same situation.

Brian Puccio
06-01-2010, 15:28
A family member just spent $2k on a Nikon DSLR and lens and they've got it set in burst mode. Every shot this family member takes, he holds the button down and gets 3-5 exposures.

Keith
06-01-2010, 15:51
Sometimes it's a necessary evil. If I was going to do a portrait of someone and it mattered I'd happily shoot a roll knowing that somewhere within that roll there will be the two or three or maybe only one shot that really works. The same can apply to urban landscapes if they are dynamic IMO.

sig
06-01-2010, 16:09
Overshooting? Yes it exists. When? Well when I feel there are to many pictures of the same thing, e.g. I have some chairs that I have wasted to much film/digital storage on.

But the when part also change over time, e.g. if you look at photos older than say 1-2 years you (or I guess it is me) almost never feel you have too much.

Vince Lupo
06-02-2010, 01:19
Depends on who is going to look at them -- I've had editors who want to see 'lots of options', and they'd prefer that I not edit anything out. Conversely, I've worked for editors who don't want to look through 300 shots to choose images for a story.

I'd say that many times a photographer can be his/her own worst editor, but of course there is a limit, and it also depends on the job. For an editorial story on an event, having as many photos as possible from which to choose is advantageous, as is a story on a home renovation. Of course, the real work happens afterwards when you have to go through and edit/colour correct all of them!

I've also had situations in which I'll have to do photos of a specific person, and sometimes I'll find that the best shot is the very first one I took (then I wonder why I wasted my time taking all the other photos!). Many times, however, I'll notice that the subject gets more comfortable in front of the camera after about 15 minutes, and the very last shots will be the best ones. No real clear-cut answer I suppose!

Roger Hicks
06-02-2010, 01:29
Inevitably, the definition of 'overshooting' will vary. Small variations in expressions in a portrait are a perfect example. Even then, if you can't get it in a single 10-exposure roll, or at most two, then you're probably either (a) overshooting or (b) pretty incompetent as a portraitist. In fact, experience should, as Turtle says, tell you when you've got enough. There is therefore a tempting reductio ad absurdum that if a bad photographer needed 100 shots, and a good photographer 10, then a 'perfect' photographer could do it in 1.

Of course 'good' is a weasel word: you might be brilliant at music photography and rotten at portraits, or vice versa, leading to the need to shoot a lot more of the one you're bad at.

Sig's first sentence is probably the best definition -- Overshooting? Yes it exists. When? Well when I feel there are to many pictures of the same thing, e.g. I have some chairs that I have wasted to much film/digital storage on. -- but 25+ years on I still feel that Frances and I shot too much on the Ganges, because we had a limited viewpoint and a limited choice of lenses: too wide, and it's all water and sky, and too long, and you can't hold the camera steady in a small, rocking boat.

Cheers,

R.

Brian Sweeney
06-02-2010, 01:35
Guilty of using the screen as a feedback loop. When I like the shot, viewed on the M8, time to exit the loop.

Unless I'm adjusting a lens. Then the feedback loop requires two shots in focus on the same object from the same distance. Way to reduce human error. These things can always be traced to human error, Dave.

Sparrow
06-02-2010, 01:41
I hate when the first reply is the "best", the one I was going to state.

Yes, my parents want to see the 4 almost exact shots of my son playing tombone from the parade yesterday.

It depends on your audiance, you must satisfy your customer.

That said, when I am out alone, shoting for myself, then one is mostly enough.

The other side of that particular coin, sadly, is when the photographer has a captive audience.

Since they retired my wifeís parents have travelled all over the globe, and he is quite capable of making a photo of Norway or Iceland look identical to one of New Zealand or the US North West, that may sound odd but it is true Ö I have seen most of them.

Thankfully, he went digital some years ago so we donít have to attend the slide shows, these days we just get the disc to watch at our convenience.

At one time I did considered explaining the concept of editing, but thought better of it, we just set the slide-show to fast

Phantomas
06-02-2010, 01:43
I've posted some contact sheets from famous and admired photographers here. The images were rightfully removed (sorry for copyright infringement).
The point is that seeing those contact sheets always makes me feel at ease about my own photography. Yes, all those "perfect photographers" shot frame after frame out of which we see just one and go "wow, what a moment/expression that guy caught, he has a real eye for that".

Have a look at Erwitt's contacts here (http://dreamdogsart.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/07/23/erwitt2.jpg). I guess he's not a perfect photographer.

Andy Kibber
06-02-2010, 02:00
Have a look at Erwitt's contacts here (http://dreamdogsart.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/07/23/erwitt2.jpg). I guess he's not a perfect photographer.

Yeah he totally overshot that! For shame.

Jamie123
06-02-2010, 02:02
Inevitably, the definition of 'overshooting' will vary. Small variations in expressions in a portrait are a perfect example. Even then, if you can't get it in a single 10-exposure roll, or at most two, then you're probably either (a) overshooting or (b) pretty incompetent as a portraitist. In fact, experience should, as Turtle says, tell you when you've got enough. There is therefore a tempting reductio ad absurdum that if a bad photographer needed 100 shots, and a good photographer 10, then a 'perfect' photographer could do it in 1.

I strongly disagree with your viewpoint here that someone who "can't get it" in a single roll is a bad portraitist. If by 'it' you mean something that's merely good enough then sure, you're right. Most celeb portraitists often don't get more than 5 minutes with the talent and it's their job to get something useful in those few minutes. Many award winning portraits have been produced in such 5 minute shoots but at the end of the day those great shots are probably hit or miss.
If by 'it' you mean the best possible shot of the session then you're probably wrong. There are so many factors to consider that I don't even know where to start. Firstly, you speak of the 'perfect photographer' that could do it in 1 shot. That 'perfect photographer' can only be a god-like creature as he has to have complete power over what the person in front of the camera does. No blinking allowed for starters. This 'perfect' photographer is surely one who only takes static portraits as any shot that is supposed to capture movement is not possible (or does this perfect photographer have slow-mo vision??).

Portraits are always a collaborations. Often the person in front of the camera will get more relaxed throughout a shoot. A photographer I used to assist for used to shoot the first 10 minutes with no film in the camera just to get them accustomed to the camera. Sure, that's one way to reduce 'overshooting' but you can't do that indefinitely. Then there's the fact that sometimes you just have to click the shutter so the person changes expression. If you tell them to change expression or posture too often without clicking the shutter they will get insecure and think everything they do is wrong. And they'll start 'waiting' for the shot which shows in the pictures. Every single thing you do on a portrait shoot will have an effect on how the picture turns out.

As for your trip to the Ganges, you probably did waste some film but it might also have been quite reasonable to do so. Better to waste film than to waste an opportunity. And if the lab had messed up one of the rolls you'd be happy you shot more than one.

Roger Hicks
06-02-2010, 03:26
I strongly disagree with your viewpoint here that someone who "can't get it" in a single roll is a bad portraitist. If by 'it' you mean something that's merely good enough then sure, you're right. Most celeb portraitists often don't get more than 5 minutes with the talent and it's their job to get something useful in those few minutes. Many award winning portraits have been produced in such 5 minute shoots but at the end of the day those great shots are probably hit or miss.
If by 'it' you mean the best possible shot of the session then you're probably wrong. There are so many factors to consider that I don't even know where to start. Firstly, you speak of the 'perfect photographer' that could do it in 1 shot. That 'perfect photographer' can only be a god-like creature as he has to have complete power over what the person in front of the camera does. No blinking allowed for starters. This 'perfect' photographer is surely one who only takes static portraits as any shot that is supposed to capture movement is not possible (or does this perfect photographer have slow-mo vision??).

Portraits are always a collaborations. Often the person in front of the camera will get more relaxed throughout a shoot. A photographer I used to assist for used to shoot the first 10 minutes with no film in the camera just to get them accustomed to the camera. Sure, that's one way to reduce 'overshooting' but you can't do that indefinitely. Then there's the fact that sometimes you just have to click the shutter so the person changes expression. If you tell them to change expression or posture too often without clicking the shutter they will get insecure and think everything they do is wrong. And they'll start 'waiting' for the shot which shows in the pictures. Every single thing you do on a portrait shoot will have an effect on how the picture turns out.

As for your trip to the Ganges, you probably did waste some film but it might also have been quite reasonable to do so. Better to waste film than to waste an opportunity. And if the lab had messed up one of the rolls you'd be happy you shot more than one.

Highlight 1: I only said 'probably', and I did add 'or at most two'. Though I don't think Karsh was noted for overshooting. Or Jane Bown. And even the Hollywood photographers of the 1930s (Bull, Hurrell, etc.) seldom shot more than 24 pictures.

Highlight 2: Yes, I said it was a reductio ad absurdum.

Highlight 3: But not more than 40 (a mix of 35mm and 120).

Cheers,

R.

sreed2006
06-02-2010, 03:36
I cannot dance. I just don't have the ability to keep the rhythm with my feet.

What does this have to do with overshooting? Once when shooting a butterfly that was on the ground, but flapping its wings open and closed, I got about 10 pictures of it with its wings closed. I finally gave up, since I just couldn't get the rhythm right. What's worse than 10 good/great pictures of exactly the same thing? 10 bad pictures in a row. To this day, I fear taking pictures of butterflies.

Similarly, it seems over half the shots I've taken of my son are right when he blinks. I have gone through all sorts of techniques to try to time it right and it is just no use. Even when I am looking carefully at him in the viewfinder of a rangefinder or TLR, and timing it perfectly, I catch him just as he is blinking. So, my solution is to put a digital SLR on continuous shooting mode and just fire away - that is the only solution I've found that allows me to be sure I will get his picture when he is not blinking. And the sound of the camera just going to work usually evokes a nice smile from him.

But - once I am pretty certain I've captured a good picture of a scene or person, I will not take any more. If I have two or more good pictures, very similar, I hate trying to decide which is the best.

Brian Sweeney
06-02-2010, 04:16
Nikon S3 with 10.5cm f2.5, wide-open.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3122/3087898948_9a898417db_o.jpg

Low Latency? Not sure- but I have good luck with Butterflies and Kids.

Jamie123
06-02-2010, 04:31
Highlight 1: I only said 'probably', and I did add 'or at most two'. Though I don't think Karsh was noted for overshooting. Or Jane Bown. And even the Hollywood photographers of the 1930s (Bull, Hurrell, etc.) seldom shot more than 24 pictures.

Highlight 2: Yes, I said it was a reductio ad absurdum.

Highlight 3: But not more than 40 (a mix of 35mm and 120).

Cheers,

R.

Re. 1: I don't know how many sheets Karsh or any other 30s Hollywood photographer exposed during a regular session. Surely not as much as a comparable photographer working in 35mm but probably also not as little as one might expect. Every part of the photographic process has an influence on how the image turns out

Re. 2: I didn't quite understand your use of reductio ad absurdum so I just ignored it. A reductio ad absurdum in logic is the introduction of a (presumably) false premise into an argument which leads to a contradictory conclusion (i.e. x and non-x), thus showing the introduced premise to be false. I might be a bit too strict about this, though, as I'm a philosophy major.

Re. 3: I think I misunderstood your initial post. I thought you had shot more than 40 frames (i.e. 2-3 rolls), not 40 rolls. 40 rolls might really be taking it a bit too far.

In the end my point is simply that you cannot judge the quality of a photographer from the amount of times he clicks the shutter. A good photographer is someone who consistently produces good images and knows what he needs to do to get them. For some that's taking a single 8x10 exposure and for some that's shooting off roll after roll of 35mm.
Personally, I prefer a 'less is more' approach but that's just part of who I am and what I like.

On a related note, I once read an interview with Ryan McGinley in which he said he had been comissioned to photograph Robert Frank at his house. He said Frank got mad because he (McGinley) constantly clicked the shutter. I guess we know Robert Frank's attitude towards 'overshooting' :)

yanidel
06-02-2010, 04:42
Overshooting to me is taking shots that I know will be crap. Usually it happens when I am not inspired or not patient.

I kind of follow the "moment is gone" philosophy. If the first shot is not right, than the moment is gone and therefore my initial perception cannot be recorded anymore. But I'll still give it another shot if I feel the scene is really worth it. I very hardly ever take more than 3 shots from a given scene.

Brian Sweeney
06-02-2010, 05:08
The only bad thing about "over-shooting" is when you see another photographer throwing out (or deleting) his worst shots and they are better than your best shots.

Krzys
06-02-2010, 05:29
With film..overshoot all you like as long as you keep on buying film. In fact we should all overshoot and stimulate film sales a little.

Looking at Garry Winogrand's contact sheets you can see that he fired off atleast 3-5 exposures of every subject he came across. No wonder he burned through so much film.

retnull
06-02-2010, 05:42
Most of the time I am shooting unposed candid shots of my family. One is usually enough, but it's often useful to squeeze off a few extra, because facial expressions change so rapidly. Sometimes if it feels like a special moment somehow -- nice emotion, nice lighting -- click click click click click, gotta get that keeper.

Keith
06-02-2010, 05:49
With film..overshoot all you like as long as you keep on buying film. In fact we should all overshoot and stimulate film sales a little.

Looking at Garry Winogrand's contact sheets you can see that he fired off atleast 3-5 exposures of every subject he came across. No wonder he burned through so much film.


Why do nine out of ten discussions that analyse points of potential difference in technique turn into pi$$ing competitions around here?

I don't care how many frames the Mapplethorps, Winogrands, Arbus's etc shot to be able to show us their individual visions ... it matters not!

emraphoto
06-02-2010, 05:55
"The currently-popular shoot-chimp-shoot method seems almot the polar opposite, but let's not even go there for now"

this is another one of those behaviors that seems best viewed at the end of ones nose and again i am not sure i understand. when i arrive somewhere and start my routine i chimp (if shooting digital). i shoot primarily manual and why the hell wouldn't i check out my lighting? it's a brilliant tool/advantage of shooting digital and i for one am going to use it. just like i take meter readings frequently while working.

i am a proud chimper and does it really indicate anything about my ability as a photographer? i don't believe so.

as far as the original question... it would be senseless to shoot the same thing 20 times. heck, 3 times is pointless. with that said, i shoot a lot. i am always trying angles, lighting, apertures etc. try things out, try things out, try things out. am i reckless and hoping for the best while hammering away? certainly not but i sure would appear as though i was if you happened upon me one day. shooting away with a pause here and there to chimp.

Roger Hicks
06-02-2010, 06:02
Re. 1: I don't know how many sheets Karsh or any other 30s Hollywood photographer exposed during a regular session. Surely not as much as a comparable photographer working in 35mm but probably also not as little as one might expect. Every part of the photographic process has an influence on how the image turns out

Re. 2: I didn't quite understand your use of reductio ad absurdum so I just ignored it. A reductio ad absurdum in logic is the introduction of a (presumably) false premise into an argument which leads to a contradictory conclusion (i.e. x and non-x), thus showing the introduced premise to be false. I might be a bit too strict about this, though, as I'm a philosophy major.

Re. 3: I think I misunderstood your initial post. I thought you had shot more than 40 frames (i.e. 2-3 rolls), not 40 rolls. 40 rolls might really be taking it a bit too far.

In the end my point is simply that you cannot judge the quality of a photographer from the amount of times he clicks the shutter. A good photographer is someone who consistently produces good images and knows what he needs to do to get them. For some that's taking a single 8x10 exposure and for some that's shooting off roll after roll of 35mm.
Personally, I prefer a 'less is more' approach but that's just part of who I am and what I like.

On a related note, I once read an interview with Ryan McGinley in which he said he had been comissioned to photograph Robert Frank at his house. He said Frank got mad because he (McGinley) constantly clicked the shutter. I guess we know Robert Frank's attitude towards 'overshooting' :)

1: In Hollywood, about 24. I did a book on it once.

2: Reductio ad absurdum: taking a valid premise ('a good photographer may well do better with 10 shots than a bad one with 100') and extending it to absurd lengths (a 'perfect' photographer would only need 1). This can most easily be done by ignoring other premises, rather thany by introducing new onces.

"In the end..." Well, yes. But it's interesting to learn how others work, often with a view to learning how to do things better oneself. I used to shoot more than I do now. So did Turtle (I particularly liked his point about not trying to squeeze more images out of an overworked subject).

I don't think any of us is getting into a pissing contest. Just trying to learn.

Cheers,

R.

Sparrow
06-02-2010, 06:08
In the urban environment I don't see how one can "over-shoot" the moment happens and then it's gone, there is only time for the one photo, one can only have a single go at it so it's difficult to use lots of film.

With portraits, I find, I know it when I get it nailed, within the first roll normally, if I had nothing by the end of the end of the roll I'd be looking to change something (location or lighting or model or whatever)

The world has lots of landscapes, adding more than one a month seems excessive to me ...

yanidel
06-02-2010, 06:10
With film..overshoot all you like as long as you keep on buying film. In fact we should all overshoot and stimulate film sales a little.

Looking at Garry Winogrand's contact sheets you can see that he fired off atleast 3-5 exposures of every subject he came across. No wonder he burned through so much film.
At the same time, thousands of Winogrand exposed but undevelopped films were found at his death. He apparently enjoyed more the act of taking a photograph than looking at the result.

Jamie123
06-02-2010, 06:46
2: Reductio ad absurdum: taking a valid premise ('a good photographer may well do better with 10 shots than a bad one with 100') and extending it to absurd lengths (a 'perfect' photographer would only need 1). This can most easily be done by ignoring other premises, rather thany by introducing new onces.


In the strict sense in formal logic one would only speak of a reductio ad absurdum if the conclusion is actually self contradictory (which ''a perfect photographer would only need 1'') is not. Also there are valid arguments but no valid premises. In logic a reductio ad absurdum is not done by ignoring premises (an incomplete argument is called "enthymeme") but by introducing as a premise the opposite of what you're trying to prove to be true.
As an example, I might want to prove the statement ''Roger Hicks is a human being". If I want to show this to be true by way of reductio ad absurdum I would introduce the negation of this statement as a premise into a valid and otherwise sound argument (a valid argument is one where the conclusion logically follows from the premises, a sound argument is a valid argument of which the premises are true):

P 1: Roger Hicks is not a human being
P 2: Roger Hicks is a photographer
P 3: All photographers are human beings

C: Roger Hicks is a human being and Roger Hicks is not a human being.

If we are sure that P2 and P3 are true (let's assume P3 is true ;-) ), then P1 must be wrong. That's a (more or less) classic reductio ad absurdum.

Sorry for going so off topic. Just trying to show why in a strict logic sense the employment of the term is misleading here.

antiquark
06-02-2010, 06:56
2: Reductio ad absurdum: taking a valid premise ('a good photographer may well do better with 10 shots than a bad one with 100') and extending it to absurd lengths (a 'perfect' photographer would only need 1). This can most easily be done by ignoring other premises, rather thany by introducing new onces.

To be pedantic about it (hey, why not :) ) that sounds more like a slippery slope fallacy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope

And actually, the utmost level of photographic perfection would be, according to the original statement, a photographer who takes no pictures at all! (A Zen koan for the 21st century?)

robert blu
06-02-2010, 08:03
emraphoto says : i shoot a lot. i am always trying angles, lighting, apertures etc. try things out, try things out, try things out.
For sure this is not overshooting, this is trying to get the best from a certain subject or situation. It is a possibility that modern (digital) technology makes easier (cheaper ?) and it is good to benefit from it.

robert

Roger Hicks
06-02-2010, 12:19
Well, I am intrigued to learn that I have been using reductio ad absurdum incorrectly for decades, and I am quite fascinated that no-one has ever challenged me on it before, even in four years at law school. It must be that I paid more attention to Latin than to formal logic, though admittedly I was never keen on the latter because it always seemed to be one or the other, but seldom both.

Or is it, perhaps, that reductio ad absurdum is, in formal logic, what lawyers call a 'term of art', not possessing the logicians' formal, technical meaning to anyone else? Anyone except a formal logician would, I suggest, take the following as a classical reductio ad absurdum:

Lower tax rates invariably bring in higher revenues.

Therefore, zero tax rates will bring in infinite revenues.

Cheers,

R.

Jamie123
06-02-2010, 13:04
Well, I am intrigued to learn that I have been using reductio ad absurdum incorrectly for decades, and I am quite fascinated that no-one has ever challenged me on it before, even in four years at law school. It must be that I paid more attention to Latin than to formal logic, though admittedly I was never keen on the latter because it always seemed to be one or the other, but seldom both.

Or is it, perhaps, that reductio ad absurdum is, in formal logic, what lawyers call a 'term of art', not possessing the logicians' formal, technical meaning to anyone else? Anyone except a formal logician would, I suggest, take the following as a classical reductio ad absurdum:

Lower tax rates invariably bring in higher revenues.

Therefore, zero tax rates will bring in infinite revenues.

Cheers,

R.

Glad that I could help. Acutally, the English Wikipedia article for reductio ad absurdum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_absurdum) does cite that "[s]ome legal usage, and some common usage, depends on a much wider definition of reductio ad absurdum than proof by contradiction, where it is argued a proposition should be rejected because it has merely undesirable (though perhaps not actually self-contradictory) consequences. In a strict logical sense, this might be reductio ad incommodum rather than ad absurdum - since in formal logic, 'absurdity' applies only to impossible self-contradiction."

So sure, apparently there's this legal and common usage in English language that has a wider meaning. I have not contested your use of the word, I have only explained why I was thrown off by your mention of a reductio as in my native language there is no common usage of this word, just the technical one.

I will say, though, that a "classical" reductio ad absurdum ('classical' in the sense of relating to classical antiquity) is this method I refered to as it is known in formal logic going back to Aristotle (although, obviously, he used a greek term). For a very good article on reductio ad absurdum go to http://www.iep.utm.edu/reductio/
The common and legal usage derives from the technical usage, thus the original meaning should be kept in mind when employing the term in a lecturing manner. And it doesn't surprise me in the least that they don't teach logic in law school.

sreed2006
06-02-2010, 16:00
@Brian Sweeney

You captured an excellent picture of the butterfly! Some day I hope to get one that good.

I did have a long-shutter-lag camera when I was trying to capture the butterfly with the flapping wings that were always closed when the shutter opened. It's very frustrating to press the shutter button at exactly the right instant, or what you predict to be the right instant, and the camera takes its sweet time - and then takes too long. I never did get the hang of it, so now I only use that camera for still life pictures.

As for my son blinking - his eyelids and camera shutters are magically linked. Shutter lag, no shutter lag, self-timer on 10 seconds, 2 seconds, sneak up on him, wait until he just blinked, you name it. Thank goodness I can put the camera on continuous mode and just overshoot like crazy. I've gotten some really good shots of him that way. Anything else is about a 75% chance of failure.

Keith
06-02-2010, 16:05
Anyone who's concerned about over shooting ... get a Crown Graphic or similar and put all the other stuff away for a while. I have yet to manage shooting more than twelve images in a day with mine ... and I've really tried occasionally! :p

DNG
06-02-2010, 16:13
My Problem is not over shooting, but I am a "Hoarder" of the Bad Images :bang::bang:
I can't seem to "Delete" them...thinking I will see the image in a different light months or years later ! :confused:

I need H E L P :eek:

kossi008
06-04-2010, 12:36
Overshooting? Don't think I've ever done that. I discussed it with my film caddie the other day, and he backed me up, over the objections of some of the junior roll-haulers... :D

Sorry, couldn't resist. Someone one or two pages up already put in my true answer: when I am shooting with no clear picture in mind, just in order to shoot, I am usually overshooting.

As Ansel Adams put it: "... a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept". I do say "usually", because sometimes, I suprise myself...

jsrockit
06-04-2010, 12:55
In the urban environment I don't see how one can "over-shoot" the moment happens and then it's gone, there is only time for the one photo, one can only have a single go at it so it's difficult to use lots of film....

I would say that is exactly true. It depends on your subject.

shimokita
06-04-2010, 16:32
Go to any tourist spot and stand in the background for a few minutes and you will understand overshooting. While I can appreciate the desire to have "my own personal shot" there are alternatives. I knew a professional photographer who frequently purchased slides of major tourist spots he visited (for any number of obvious reasons).

I recently dug into my archives and found one or two photos of interest to me now, but they may not be the same shots as I might choose in the future.

Casey

ederek
08-25-2010, 13:31
Roger - I reviewed MY POST (http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1338267&postcount=26) from June 1st, and a few months later, and 15K clicks further along on a digital M-body, think it still stands.

...
Another factor is the type of shooting. I take quite a few more frames when shooting concerts/shows in low light. It's hard to know "sooner" while youre shooting if youve got good shots, as even zooming in on the screen of a digital I can't reliably tell if the sharpness is there versus later.
...

Still find this to be the case. Here's an example image, where I achieved the goal of releasing the shutter at just the moment a dynamic subject (main singer) held still. Printed it at A3 size this week and it looked great - will print one at 17x22 as well.

Treat Her Right
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/982109158_2hczH-L.jpg

Over shooting is something all photographers have to go through to learn. As one better understands what works and when one has captured a particular sense of a subject, the shooting can stop. Until you have passed through that point time and time again, you cannot appreciate where it lies.

Roger, what you are talking about is quite simply experience and it varies depending on the photographer and also their experience as it relates to the photography being undertaken....

I believe there is some of this happening as well. I feel there has been healthy progress as a photographer, and proficiency with camera handling is improving as well. Shot a group of running children last weekend and was very pleased with ability to hit focus on subjects moving quickly toward and away from me.