I quoted Helmut Newton yesterday and I think today is a good day for another Helmut story. I was watching the documentary “Helmut by June” and they were telling the story of when he was shooting the cover for Vogue, he sent in 6 images for them to select for the cover. Vogue magazine calls up Helmut and says something like, “um, we only received 6 images from you for the cover” Helmut Newton’s response…. “you only need one.”
The digital era has made people believe they need hundreds, if not thousands of photos to pick from to get the desired shot. I believe this is the opposite of the truth. I just don’t see how shooting on rapid fire and just asking a model to move around is better photography. I also do not see the point of needing 10 to 15 edits per look edited for your portfolio. There are some models who have worked with me who will get 3 amazing images from the shoot and they are super happy with that. Then there are some who pick out 80 images for me to edit, then they get mad when I say that isn’t going to happen unless they are paying for my time to edit that many.
In fact, I have one shot that is still in my portfolio from over two years ago and this one shot was so much better than anything else we got that day that everything else just seems to not be good enough. So the model and I both used that one shot and honestly disregarded the rest of the shoot. She got signed to an agency, used that shot on as her signature photo, moved to a bigger agency and still used that same photo. That one photo has helped her get more work than anything else I could have given her from that day.
Slow down your shooting, stop wanting 50 photos from the same look. You don’t need hundreds of shots in your book, you don’t need to shoot 900 or more photos of two different looks. Create the image you want, create the vision that is in your head. You are in control, don’t give up that control to anyone else.
I may show several images on this site, but that is just because I want to keep digging through my archives. I don’t need to do it, I like to do it. I don’t need to show all of the images I show, and sometimes I probably shouldn’t, but when I turn in my work I only turn in what I think is the best. I do this simply because, when it comes right down to it, Helmut Newton was right, you only need one. One amazing shot can do more for you than 100 good shots.
Take the time to create that one amazing shot and you will never want to blast your way through a shoot again.