It’s never been easier to share photographs. The time from pressing the shutter to ending up on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter can be seconds, this power brought to our fingertips by the progress of technology.
As you can probably guess, I’m going to argue that this isn’t always a good thing.
I entered the world of photography way too late to have required darkroom time, but I do have a romantic nostalgia for the days of actually having to do manual work to see what the outcome of a photograph was (although I don’t think I’d actually have the patience for it). It’s often said that film photography forces a slower workflow. Low-speed films, tripods, manual focus, limited exposures, developing, enlarging, etc., all add a bit of time to the process. The end result being that you have more time to ponder over a photograph.
As I’ve taken more and more photographs I’ve started to let them “brew” or “mature” a bit before I share them with anyone else. I often get caught in the excitement of processing a new photo and want to put it straight on Facebook, but I’ve become much better at resisting that urge.
Of course, most situations you photograph might be difficult to reproduce again should you decide your first attempts weren’t good enough. With toy photography we have a huge advantage (given enough free space) that we can leave scenes set up in case we need to come back to them. In the worst case we can probably recreate them with a bit of effort.
Too many times I’ve put a photo out into the wild, but I haven’t quite got something right. Small missed details that will bother me, easy to fix, but the moment has passed. I wait at least a day between finishing a photo and putting it online, photos I took at the weekend are still sitting in Lightroom waiting for me to decide if they’re really any good. The cold light of morning is often not kind to the previous evening’s wild ideas.
In essence, I’m a still life photographer, and I don’t get to make excuses for out-of-focus, badly-lit, badly framed photos when I control every aspect of the frame. I know I judge my own work more harshly because of it, so best not to rush these things.