pinokio (Large).jpg

If you are not shooting a lot of shit, you're not serious about photography

You probably heard about it before.

"Shoot a lot; edit ruthlessly."


There are a few reasons.

First, if you do not shoot enough amount of photos, you will not have enough material for editing.

It's a rule.


On the streets, where everything is unfolding and happening blazingly fast, when you are moving, and you also moving your camera and maybe zooming the lens, there are so many parameters, that probability of getting the right shot from the first try is very thin.

neo alley (Large).jpg
Luck – or perhaps serendipity – plays a big role… But you never know what is going to happen. And what is most exciting is when the utterly unexpected happens, and you manage to be there at the right place at the right time – and push the shutter at the right moment. Most of the time it doesn’t work out that way. This kind of photography is 99.9% about failure.
— Alex Webb

Alex Webb summarizes here what every serious photographer knows.

Why don't many photographers follow this rule of "shooting a lot"?

Well, there is something that I called "fear of the blank paper." Or, the fear of the bad photos. Somehow people don't like to make bad photos. Even if they know, it's necessary. They don't want to come home and see on their screens a lot of shit. So, they concentrate on every situation and make 1-3 photos tops, which are average, but far from good or excellent. They can bear 50 photos from one day or session with 20 passable, but they can't take 2000 images with a 1-3 great one. And, of course, 2000 it's much more work, especially if you don' know how to differentiate good ones from the bad. With 20 or 50 images, everything is much easier to handle. It's a strange little side of human psychology.

lost papers (Large).jpg

Sometimes, when I'm out on the streets, especially in the first hour or two, I deliberately point the camera at something, even though I know it will not be a good photo. In fact, I know for sure there is nothing particularly exciting or worth photographing. But I start to shoot anyway. It's something that Jay Maisel calls "visual push-ups”. It's like when a musician is playing scales, warming up before the concert . You need that intro phase. Because, once, or if, something really interesting start to unfold, your perception and craft and body need to be prepared. Or, you will miss, or you will not even see the opportunity for the great shot.

There is one last thing.

You really never know what you got, until you come home and see all the shots on your big screen. You don't know what you caught. I got a few of my best shots that I got "between" what I thought that would be my "best shots" when I was on the streets.

Look at this photo.

starcatcher-1 (Large).jpg

I was sitting on the bench across this billboard. I was just bored. So I took the camera and start to look through the viewfinder. People are coming by, and I made a few shots. Nothing particularly interesting was going on. Not a great "scene" either. Then this guy comes walking as a completely "normal" person. And just when he comes in front of my viewfinder, his whole body made strange body gesture. Like he was struck with some electroshock or something. I didn't even think; I just pressed the shutter with a reflex. And then he "come back" and continue to walk like a "normal" person, same as before. It merely lasts 2 seconds, maybe even less.

This photo was in Flickr Explore, and I got more than 500 likes. It was seen more than 80.000 times, on Flickr only. It doesn't prove anything of course, but that's not the point. The point is that nobody really knows when the opportunity will strike. So, you better be prepared when it comes and shoot a lot of shit.

That's the only way.