There seems to be a common habit among photographers to take just one shot of something and then immediately move on.
Although you can definitely get good shots this way, I think it’s also beneficial to slow down a little bit and take lots of photos of your subject. Here are a few reasons why:
Increases your chances of getting a sharp photo
In nature, almost everything is constantly moving. Even on a seemingly calm day, branches will bounce in the air, and wildlife never seems to sit still for even a second. So, taking lots of shots can increase your chances of getting a shot when your subject is still.
Light is constantly changing
Although the lighting is pretty constant during the day, it changes rapidly during sunrise and sunset. So, if you’re photographing a landscape during these special “golden hours” it’s helpful to take lots of shots to ensure you capture the most colorful moment.
The lighting can also change pretty quickly on cloudy days, since clouds can diffuse the sunlight. Depending on the type of shot you’re looking for, you may want diffused light or you may NOT want that soft light. Either way, taking lots of shots can help ensure you photograph your subject under the most perfect lighting conditions.
If you’re new to photography, or still mastering the art of exposure, then taking a few different shots at different exposures can really help teach you about exposure. It’ll also help ensure you get a properly exposed shot, so you don’t have to correct the shot in post-processing (which usually creates a lot of ugly noise).
Inspires new ideas for compositions
When you start taking more shots of your subject, it forces you to slow down and be more patient, so you naturally start seeing your subject from different points of view. And, this can often inspire you to create new compositions or make small improvements to your first composition idea. Taking lots of shots is a way of forcing you to refactor your photos 🙂
What did I miss?
Do you have another reason for taking lots of photos? Or, do you have a reason for NOT taking lots of photos? If so, please share it with us by leaving a comment below. Thanks 🙂
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About the Author: Steve Berardi is a naturalist, photographer, software engineer, and founder of PhotoNaturalist. You can usually find him hiking in the beautiful mountains and deserts of southern California.
George Purvis says
Taking lots of shots while shooting in burst mode allows you to capture the peak of action, in addition to capturing a sharp photo.
John Munno says
Good point Steve. As the saying goes, lots can happen–especially during hours of changing light, clouds and moving subjects.
Jan Maklak says
Hi Steve. Yes I whole heartedly agree that lots of shots should be taken. I can photograph something all day and occasionally still not get the angle or composition I want. How many times have I walked away from a day of shooting only to find someone else’s rendition of the same subject from a better angle or lighting condition. I would recommend to anyone who only wants to take a few shots is to survey your scene, use a tripod and do some research before heading out. Typically I shoot from as many angles as I can, use different shutter speeds and f-stop settings for varying DOF and take a complete set of exposures to be used in HDR if it looks like a good idea. But isn’t a relaxing time to get up early and shoot for an extended period of time and finally come back into your digital darkroom and get some great results.
Celso Bressan says
Often, I found myself shooting and shooting a beautiful scene while having my wife around with her iPad 2 (not a good quality picture taker, let me tell you…). I, then, look surreptitiously at my wife to check what is she doing to find out that what she is seeing is much better than what I am seeing!… I then turn around and shoot again and again the way she sees things…
Anyway, don’t forget that, by shooting and shooting, your 4Gb memory runs out pretty quickly…
Aaron King says
Great snap Steve.
Yep, I totally agree. I have to remind myself to do this and I’m not sure why. Maybe subconsciously, I’m trying to save space on my card? (I always carry a couple extra anyway). Or trying to save actuations on my shutter? Neither of those are good reasons for not just firing away.
Maybe we could all just shoot video and then pull the frame we like.