Sometimes You Have to Let Your Photos Marinate

It's amazing how technology has progressed over the years. Here I am 24, and it's an entirely different world today then it was say 10 years ago. Like always, we've adapted to these changes, and many of us have used these new advancements in life to our advantage, especially creatives. As a photographer I feel as though we've been the most spoiled, obviously I have no other experience in any other creative manner (besides videography) so this statement is biased, but I do believe it holds some truth. Let me tell you why.

Last year I took a black and white photography class at my local community college. I had no idea that it was going to be based on film photography (silly me), but the idea of learning how to shoot on a manual film camera was exciting, so I didn't drop it. My assignments were simple, take a picture of a moving subject, at other times it was being asked to take a portrait, hell the first assignment we were simply asked to shoot through a roll of film... Easy right? WRONG! My photos were the worst of all time, everything came out soft, composition was terrible and my exposure was piss poor, to my defense the meter on my Fujica AZ-1 wasn't working properly, but I guess that's not a real excuse. Besides all the mishaps that happened the one thing that was the hardest to adjust to was the turn around time on my photographs. We had class Monday & Wednesday, I would legit go almost 2 weeks before I could see what I produced. It hurt even more when I would see that those photographs were horribly composed or flat out unusable. 

One particular week we were suppose to develop I had a few shots left on my film roll, I somehow ended up purchasing 36 exposures of Fujifilm Neopan 400, I think we were asked to purchase 24, anyway I didn't want those last few exposures to go to waste, so I fired off a few images, using my classmate as the subject. One assignment was that we submit a portrait, so I thought this was a perfect time to double up on them incase my original wasn't to my liking.

Later that day it was time to develop the film, again my images were the worst of the bunch. I hated them all, they just weren't the type of images that I could be satisfied with, especially considering the time and effort it took to actually produce them. many of them were street photographs, but rather ordinary ones. They looked rushed, they lacked a story, I knew they were shit, I asked the teacher if I could redo the assignment, he looked at my photographs and told me that was probably the best idea.

Even though they didn't turn out great I continued to develop, afterall that's an art on its on, so I figured I better practice whenever I could. On the very last exposure I noticed the portrait I took of my classmate, I selected that one and started the developing process. When it was finally finished I looked at it and I was proud of my work. The photo itself wasn't properly focused, exposed or composed, but I liked it. Whatever flaws the image had I made excuses for, I shot at f/2 with my Helios 44-2 and that lens had a swirly bokeh effect, so of course it was going to be focused perfectly. The reaction in the picture, priceless right? I captured the moment, it was a great portrait.

I recently cleaned my house and came across these photographs again, like any easily distracted individual I started to look through them. I realized how horrible each and everyone of them were, even the portrait. I posted the stack of photos on Twitter and it's the last image I have of them, I recently threw them away (going to regret that) but luckily enough I placed this portrait on top. Obviously there are several things wrong with it in the frame, how was it possible that I thought this was a good photo?


Emotion is the keyword. We get caught up in the moment far too often, rather it's uploading that photo straight from our camera to VSCO, which later goes to Instagram, or rushing home to edit it that same night. Now, for those who disagree, I hear you, I'm not saying that if you rush home and edit a photo that it's going to be a bad photo, I'm also not saying if you wait 2 weeks to go through your work you'll only select great photographs. This is just simply a method to help you "kill your babies" as Eric Kim would say.

Related: Kill Your Babies (EricKimPhotography)

Had I taken this portrait 2 weeks before, as I had did with the other photographs, chances are I'd be extremely unhappy with the end results. But because I had that emotional connection with it I thought it was a good photograph. That's the problem many of us face today.

I have a friend name Charlotte, truth be told she simply isn't that great at Lightroom, all her images are usually transferred straight from her phone and then uploaded to Instagram. I think she feels left out of the group at times, well maybe not so much anymore, but in the past. Her images were in the moment post, snapshots, again, documenting her moment. If she waited say a week or two, she'd probably feel less inclined to tell that story, thus resulting in only meaningful images in her portfolio.


There are several examples of why this method is beneficial. It also not a rule that is photography specified. We can apply it to almost anything. This blog for example. Everyday I feel so inclined to submit a new post, partially due to the fact that I'm afraid if I don't I'll lose my daily audience. This post almost went out on Tuesday, but I decided to let it marinate, came back today and made some adjustments to the content. 

It works for the shopaholic too, many of us suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). We tell ourselves that we need gear or new accessories to further our photography, though this may be true it's best to wait a week or two before purchasing. If at that time you still need it then go ahead, pick it up. Same with your photos, wait a week, two if you can. If you go back and you still feel the same way about those photographs then you know what you have to do. 

This post honestly didn't have to be this long, but I had a hard time conveying exactly what I wanted to say and I just wanted to make sure I got my point across. I know waiting 2-3 weeks to post an image to some may seem insane, I also want to let it be know again that this only applies to photographs you're unsure about, there's always that moment where you know you have a keeper (though then I would wait too) and know it right away. Use this method when needed, when suggestions like this are given remember, they are simply a way, not necessarily THE WAY.