Recently I had a free day to myself, and I found myself looking at images from past photo shoots. I look through old images for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I may want to rework an image with a new processing technique I’ve learned. Sometimes I find that the processing I originally liked is no longer to my liking. Sometimes I just go back to see if there’s anything I may have missed. That was the case last week.
Since I’ve started selling my images online (www.rickberk.com), I’ve found it’s hard to know what images will resonate with people, so I try to just judge my images on technical merits, and leave my personal feelings out of it. Often, immediately after a shoot, I get so emotionally attached to one image or series of images that I fail to see other winning shots from other points during the session. That was the case with two shots from last week.
I was going through shots from August of 2009. I traveled extensively back then for work, and often used the downtime to photograph the area I was in. So in August 2009, I found myself in Boston and headed to Longfellow Bridge at sunset. I got several great images that day, and was immediately drawn to several. The image shown here was not one of them. For three years it languished on a hard drive, unseen by anyone except me the first time I went through them. However, over the past year, my most sold images have been images I have taken of Boston. So last week when I dove into the older files, I did so with the intent of finding more images of Boston that might sell.
A few weeks after that Boston trip, I took a vacation to Northern California to visit a friend. We traveled around NorCal (San Fran, Monterey, Yosemite), and also hit Lake Tahoe on the Nevada side. One evening at sunset we went to Sand Harbor, which features some beautiful rock formations. I got quite attached to some images taken later at sunset, and immediately processed those. Those images were problematic due to the high contrast of the scene, and took a bit of time in Photoshop to get to look right. Earlier in the evening I took an image of Sand Harbor from a slightly different angle. At the time, it didn’t strike me, for whatever reason. As I went back into the unedited files, this image jumped out at me. It didn’t take much editing- a quick contrast adjustment and color adjustment in Photoshop and I was done. This “new” image really spoke to me.
I immediately uploaded the new images (along with some others) to my website and publicized them. Within 3 hours, Sand Harbor sold a 20×30 on acrylic. Three days later, a buyer ordered an 8×12 of the Boston Skyline, matted and framed.
Moral of the story: It pays to go back and look at old images with a fresh eye, and more emotional separation between the artist and the heat of the moment of creation. What resonates with you as the artist may not resonate with buyers, and vice versa. By all means post the images you love. But don’t hesitate to post images that, while there may be no emotional attachment, are certainly salable images. Someone else may find an emotional attachment there.
A selection of my images is featured on this page as well: clouds photos