I remember reading about Jay Maisel and how he asked his students how many shots they took to get the image they wanted. What I read shocked me.
To paraphrase, sometimes you have to take a lot of shots to get the one you want. This stuck with me because I was of the school of thought that if you took a lot of shots you were doing it wrong. I started to think about things differently. I had to learn it was okay to work a shot at times.
How Many Shots
If you are taking your photography seriously, “working a shot” is something to think through. Every now and then you run across once in a life time occasion, or that job that may allow you to buy the camera you are dreaming about. Within a certain amount of time, you have the ability to shoot a subject and get it just right. That opportunity will never ever happen again. Again, how many shots do you take? My answer is as many as conceivably possible. When the Enterprise was flying over New York City, I was able to gain a unique spot to shoot. I got as many frames as possible.
Vary Your Shot
I could have taken one shot of the shuttle and walked away happy. On the other hand, this was never going to happen again. I took as many shots as I possibly could, over 400 at the end of it. I was working every angle I feasibly could without falling to my death. When working a shot, I try to get vertical, horizontal, high, and low shots.
No One is Perfect
Sometimes to convey your thoughts through your photography, you have to take time with it. Take a minute to see your subject in all ways you possibly could. You can work things until you find the image that absolutely conveys your thoughts, or tells your story. When shooting the last flight of the Enterprise, this is what was going through my mind.
In the Modern Era it is Easy
To work a photo, today, with digital cameras, is easy. Instead of wasting rolls and rolls of film as our photography predecessors once had to, we can shoot hundreds of images without thinking. The thing is, memory cost far less per image than film. Why not use this to your advantage.
Keep in Mind
I do not care what your skill level is because, sadly, the first shot is not always an immaculate image. In other words, sometimes you have to take multiple shots, just to get one. You don’t have to show all these images though. If you are looking for that flawless shot, sometimes, you have to labor at it. You may have to wait for the perfect light, for people to get out of the way, or for a space shuttle to fly by.
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