Don’t Show Your Mistakes

What’s the best way to make people think you’re a superstar model or photographer? I can sum it up in five simple words.

Don’t. Show. Them. Your. Mistakes.

We all make them, lord knows I do. I’ve just finished going through a shoot I did last weekend with a local model. Here are some quick statistics:

  • Total: 402 (Way too many I know, I over-shoot)
  • Rejected: 45 (shots of the bottom of my camera bag, flashes didn’t go off, etc)
  • One Star: 193 (missed focus by a tiny bit, bad expression, model doesn’t look good, etc… my way of saying “not worth looking at”)
  • Remaining: 164

Barely a quarter of the images from the original shoot would I even think about showing the model to choose from in a proof gallery, and honestly of those I’ll probably send just over 50 for them to choose 5-10 from.

But when she sees the images she’ll hopefully think “wow, we got amazing shots over those couple of hours” because she’s seeing an edited view.

One of the big things that to me screams “I’m an amateur” (not that there’s anything wrong with that) is showing all your images. Models and photographers are equally guilty of this. Remember back in the days when you’d just upload your entire memory card to Flickr? Or when you put every shot from a shoot up on Model Mayhem?

Don’t do it. As I said in my article on building a portfolio for models it’s better to show five images that are a-friggin’-mazing than fifty mediocre ones with a couple of gems in there. You have to be ok with (and pardon the expression here) killing your children. It doesn’t matter that you don’t know which of the black and white, color, desaturated colour, or funky-color versions is best, showing all of them is worse than showing one of them.

Be ok with only showing your good stuff. Be ok with hiding your mistakes. We all make them. We all have the shot with the half closed eyes and the tip of the tongue sticking out, with the really unflattering fat roll on your side. The pros too. Heidi, Tyra, Joe, and Strobist all have them. They just don’t show them (well, maybe not Joe McNally, cause lets be honest, he’s amazing).