Post hoc

..ergo proper hoc? No – forget that: I am not talking about logical fallacies.

I am talking about what happens to photos after you take them.

Here’s what happens after a shoot, quite often:

  1. You shoot.
  2. You get home and look.
  3. You think “Oh, I am not very good”
  4. You think “Oh – I am amazing, actually”
  5. Repeat 3 and 4 a few times
  6. After oscillating a while, you settle down and pick some images to use
  7. You share those, and you are done.

But what you should do is also: look again later. You increasingly see your images as what they are, not as “what you were doing when you shot them”. This is why you use Lightroom, and this is why it is useful to go back and review your work – even years later.

For example, three years ago, I shot an event with showman/radio person JT Foxx (brother of a then friend of mine) on a visit to Toronto. At the time, the event pics were good, but he did not like the portraits – and indeed, he had not had the best night before, and the light wasn’t great, and I had no off-camera flashes, and so on. So – I got some snaps, but I was not terribly happy with them either.

Until I just changed upon them again – three years later. I think, now, that this is actually a very good portrait, showing his personality:

(95mm, 1/125th sec at f/2.8, 800 ISO, bounced flash).

So I got a portrait out of this shoot, three and a half years after the shoot. And that is my point – look again at your images. Try a different crop (or, as in this case. sepia instead of colour). Have a new eye – and even years after a shoot you will discover gems that you did not know where there. Your image library is a mine – and sometimes a gold mine.


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