Thursday, February 07, 2008

The trick to amazing photos

I was listening to Robert Scoble talk about the genesis of his photowalking project on a recent podcast. He said he was at a party of about 500-600 people and there were maybe four or five people walking around taking pictures. He looked at several of the photos online afterwards and right away noticed one photographer's work clearly stood out. This intrigued Robert, so he asked to trail the photographer, Thomas Hawk, with a video camera to document his process ( you Robert for the comment/clarification). One thing stood out about Thomas: he took a friggin' ton of pictures--like 2,500 per hour! Yes he was talented. Yes he had the best equipment. But it was also a numbers game. He'd load up several 8GB memory cards on any given shoot and then go back to the studio to find that literally a handful were worth keeping.

The same principle seems to apply to finding the right political candidate or pop star, picking a winning investment portfolio, or lining up a winning roster for a professional sports team. We tend to forget or diminish the work behind the talent.

Incidentally, one of the reasons Robert is so interesting to listen to is he scans/"imprints" 1,300 feeds a night (not a typo, 1-3-0-0 a night!).

Thomas and Robert remind me of a quote from Hyrum Smith--one of the founders of FranklinCovey:
"Success is the willingness to do that which unsuccessful people are not willing to do."


Scobleizer said...

That was Thomas Hawk

Doug Weaver said...

Very interesting. I have suggested to those that have come to me for photographing a wedding advice- not to take so many images. The truly gifted seem to be able to sense (or feel) a moment about to happen. I suggest they come with me to a wedding without a camera and just walk around and 'feel' where they think the image will occur. When just the perfect laugh, or cry, or something powerful is going to happen. Now, if you machine gun the day with your camera- you will get a few great shots, you have to. For me, this is a discussion about luck and skill (and I bet there is a huge grey area in between). I would rather be good than lucky...but sometimes you need the luck as well.

The Pop star (and other examples)- could not agree more. You want the numbers on your side. Better, sometimes, to sign a bunch of prospects at a lower price and hope that a few hit it big- then to spend all of your money on one or two 'cannot miss' sure things only to find out they are a bust (millions of examples for this I am sure).