“Spray and Pray” or “Waste the Day Away”?
A friend and I were discussing wedding photography the other day. A comment was made about “spray and pray” photography and for some reason the term stuck in my head. I’ve been contemplating it since then and decided I would blog about it. I’m certain there has been plenty said on the topic however why have a blog if you are not going to discuss the things that are going on in your thoughts as well as your actions?
While a lot of what I found online about the whole “spray and pray” method was condescending, I did find a few interesting thoughts on the topic. To summarize what I found, there seem to be a couple of camps on the subject: those who think that it’s an out of control way of taking pictures vs those who find that, on occasion, it’s an okay method of photography.
I think a little differently about it. First off, it has the feeling of an arrogant statement, which makes me bristle. Why should we worry about how another photographer works their way to a great shot? What does it matter if they take 20 pictures to arrive at their vision vs the one picture another might take to arrive at their vision? I believe it’s okay to be any type of photographer as long as you’re reaching your photographic vision.
I likely fall more into the “Spray and Pray” camp than the “Waste the Day Away” camp, which is probably why I bristled at the sound of the label. By “Waste the Day Away” I mean the opposite of “Spray and Pray”, the person who spends an hour waiting for the perfect shot, gets it and goes home. That term likely makes others bristle; both terms have negative connotations to them. Because of my personality, the way I work creatively, and how I arrive at my vision for a picture, I frequently need to “shoot” my way to what I’m thinking. I’m a dive in and get it going kind of gal. I rarely just sit back and contemplate. It’s worked well for me thus far. Every person should work within their personality style to capture something that makes them feel as if it were worth their time. I have spent time trying to develop the other side, the more contemplative type photographer. For me, it feels as if I’m wasting my day away.
I recently took pictures at a baby shower and as I began the post-processing afterwards I was pleased with the moments I had captured. Of the 111 pictures I took, so far 36 of them are “picks” for keepers. Yes, there were many throw away pictures, ones that a contemplative photographer wouldn’t have even taken. However, because I am more of a “rapid fire” photographer, I captured some priceless moments, some expressions that depict who an individual is (note the photo at the top of this blog page), shared moments between sisters, special moments between friends.
“Spray and Pray” does not have to imply that a person is out of control in what they are doing, that they are just praying they get something worthy of their time. My goal for every photography session is to capture the essence and emotion of whatever/whomever I’m photographing. I take a lot of pictures trying to capture just the right moments that tell the story that matches my vision. I delete a lot of photo’s in post processing. I could probably save myself a lot of time if I were wired differently and contemplated each and every picture before pressing the shutter release. For me, I’m not willing to miss the possible shot that would make my whole time spent taking pictures worthwhile.