Overshooting as a Photographer

#90 My Biggest Flaw in Photography: Overshooting


In this episode of Oh Shoot! Cassidy Lynne (@cassidylynne) dives into her biggest flaw in photography and how we can overcome it. Today’s episode is all about overshooting! If you follow Cassidy on Instagram, you know overshooting is something she struggles with, along with so many other photographers! 

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Let’s dive into the episode!

What is overshooting as a photographer?

Overshooting is taking too many photos at a session or a wedding.

What is considered overshooting NUMBER wise?

This will look different for everyone. In my opinion taking anywhere over 600+ photos for an 1-1.5 hour session is overshooting. For example, an engagement session with two outfits and two locations is usually an hour and a half of shooting for me. I usually end up with a thousand photos, but I want to get that number down to around 600. 

For an 8 hour wedding day with no second shooter, overshooting to me would be taking 3 to 4 thousand photos. With a second shooter, overshooting would be around 5 to 6 thousand photos between the two of you. Evidently, this all depends on how long you’re there and how long you’re shooting. 

Not only do we overshoot, but often as photographers we over deliver.

What is over DELIVERING as a photographer?

Over delivering is delivering multiple photos to your client that look the same. It’s often multiple photos of the same angle and/or the same pose, or with a slight change in their expression. We get in this mindset of thinking, “There is a minor shift in this image therefore I need to deliver both images because I don’t know what my client’s going to like”. So you end up delivering 300 photos, when you said you were going to give them 50 final edited photos. 

Over delivering is essentially giving yourself an excuse not to make a decision. Part of being a strong artist is being able to decide that this one photo speaks more than the other photo, so I’m going to get rid of this photo that will distract from the really great one.

Think of the Client’s Perspective

Think about how many photos your client actually downloads and uses. For example, my couples will pick maybe one hundred of their favorite photos and download them. Even if they download all of them, they might only use one hundred of them at the most. That’s how it is even with my own wedding photos. I picked my favorite walking down the aisle photo. I picked a few favorite bridal portraits and a few favorites from the reception. I’ll look back on the rest of them, but they’re not the ones I actually use and want. 

Think about the fact that it’s probably so overwhelming to get a gallery of thousands of edited images and they don’t even know where to start. You should be delivering a gallery with emotion and the strongest photos, not a gallery that feels overwhelming and not well thought out.

Pros of Overshooting 

#1 You never miss a single thing happening on a wedding day. 

This is a very big pro of overshooting. Some of you might feel like it’s worth it to spend a few extra hours culling if that guarantees you didn’t miss a moment you might have otherwise. 

#2 You will have plenty of options to choose from when you are sorting through your photos.

 If someone blinks or makes a weird face, you probably have multiple options to choose from which is great! To have options for different facial expressions, poses, angles, and even extra for black and white photos is really nice! But this is where my list of pros of overshooting ends.

Cons of Overshooting 

#1 It hurts your shutter count.

As much as we like to think our cameras are indestructible, they’re not. They have a limit on how hard they can work and how long they will last. 

#2 It makes your culling longer.

The process of you culling through 6,000 images from a wedding is going to be much longer than if you only had 2,000.  

#3 It makes editing longer.

We all know this one! 

#4 It makes it harder to pick photos.

You spend too much time going back and forth between the exact same photo! 

#5 It takes up more memory space.

On a wedding day you’re changing out your SD cards more often which can feel hectic. And then you need to have enough storage on your hard drives for all those gigabytes. You’ll fill up your hard drives faster too. So then you’re having to buy both more SD cards and more hard drives. 

Pro Tip: I don’t buy SD cards bigger than 64 GB. I have 32 GB and 64 GB, but I don’t even want to give myself the option to fill up a 128 GB card. If I have space on the card, I’m going to use it. So that’s my mindset when it comes to buying SD cards. 

#6 It can use up your battery life. 

This isn’t a big deal, but it means you have to make sure you have extra batteries charged and ready to swap out. 

#7 It makes shooting on film harder. 

If you are so used to overshooting and taking so many photos, when you shoot on film it makes it so much harder to decide on when to take a photo. I know this is a niche one and not everyone shoots on film. I find I have a harder time shooting film because it’s harder for me to decide when to snap the shutter.

Artfully Constructing a Strong Gallery

Like I said earlier, when you overshoot, you are also likely to over deliver.  There’s something so powerful about delivering a gallery that is super strong and doesn’t have multiple photos of the exact same pose. Instead it has very intentional angles of each pose. Every photo is different and feels like it’s own work of art. When you look at the gallery as a whole you feel moved by the intentionality of each photo included. 

When you over deliver it makes the gallery viewing experience a little more boring, mundane, and repetitive. I always try to think of my client’s experience viewing their gallery. If they have a gallery with three of the same exact photos of the same pose with a minor tweak, for the ENTIRE GALLERY, imagine how boring that viewing experience is!

Is overshooting and over delivering a bad thing?

They’re not necessarily bad, but if it’s your crutch then YES! We as photographers and artists often use overshooting and over delivering as a safety net. Maybe we’re afraid of missing a moment. Or of delivering a photo that the client doesn’t like, so we deliver ten of them because there has to be an angle or pose from those ten they’ll love. 

What are you thinking about when you take 50 photos in two seconds? What’s going through your mind as you’re taking them? What’s going through your mind as you’re culling those photos? It may not be a crutch for you, but it can be. 

I think we use it as crutch as people pleasers. A hard mindset to get over is feeling the need to please someone to the extent of doing extra work. I’m delivering photos that they may not even look at or download.

So is overshooting a result of insecurity? 1000% it is!

When you overshoot you are trying to guarantee that you have the shot you need or the shot the person you’re second shooting for needs. You’re not confident enough in the first few photos you took that you need to take 20 more that look exactly the same.

So how do we fix this overshooting and over delivering mentality? 

#1 Try shooting on film. 

Shooting with film has really taught me to be precise about the images I take and to be really particular about my timing. There’s also just something about the sound a film camera makes when taking a photo that is so appreciated. With film you don’t have thousands of opportunities to take a photo. You get like 16 or 36 photos on a roll and that’s it. So you have to use them wisely. 

#2 Limit yourself.

This is something I did at a recent session. I told myself once I hit 250 photos then we were moving to the second location. So that’s something I had to stop and periodically check and see how many photos we were at before putting them in another pose. 

#3 Check your mindset while you’re shooting.

What are my intentions? Why am I taking so many photos? Did I already get the photos I need?

#4 Switch lenses often. 

Switching lenses often helps break up those shutter happy moments, so you don’t have the opportunity to overshoot. You can switch your lens and then jump back into it from a different perspective of a different lens. This can help you build a stronger gallery too. 

#5 Take a break. 

Often over shooting comes from those shutter-happy moments of non-stop taking pictures. Like when your couple is walking down the aisle is a good scenario to be non-stop taking photos. But maybe once they reach the back and they’re giving hugs to their bridal party, you get the one or two shots you need, but then take a breather. Let your couple take it in and enjoy the moment, instead of making it feel like they’re always having their photo taken.

Is there a happy medium between overshooting and over delivering? 

Yes I think so! There is a point where you don’t take enough photos and a point where you’re taking too many photos. It’s going to be different for everyone. There are times when overshooting can be a good thing like during the kiss at a wedding ceremony to make sure you get the shot. But I think we often use overshooting as a crutch too. There’s a point with over delivering where it’s not achieving what you want it to achieve. In reality your client might feel overwhelmed by the extra 100 photos you delivered. 

So that’s a wrap on my thoughts on overshooting! Let me know what you guys think about the episode! Leave me a comment or feel free to share your thoughts on it and mention me in your story on Instagram!

Show Notes

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