Is ‘Nice’ Enough?

Gerry van der Walt All Authors Leave a Comment

It happens every year.  


From middle December you start seeing the top ten lists of pretty much anything and images are no exception.  News agencies, stock sites and photographers all post their top images of the last year.


Now I am all for striving for excellence and creating the absolute best images that I can but this approach, and all the lists showcasing ‘the best of everything’ begs the question – is nice enough?




Let’s be realistic here.  


Regardless of how many images you take in a year the vast majority of them will not make it to your ‘best of’ list.  The majority of your images, especially in wildlife photography, will not be award winning, take your breath away images.  They might not be complete crap but they won’t crack the nod for anything other than being saved in a directory somewhere on your external hard drive.  And maybe Facebook.


And you know what?  


It’s ok!!


I am not saying we should celebrate mediocrity but there is most definitely more to these images than just being dismissed for not being good enough.  They might not be great but they might be nice.


Does that make sense?


We all sit with a huge number of nice images – I know I do – but we feel that they are just not good enough to show to people.  To enter into competitions.  To be proud of.


The catch is this.  If you want to take more great images – the ones that will make your best of the year list – you need the nice images.  They are a necessary evil.  But without the evil.


When you start out in wildlife photography you view a lot of your images as great.  In time, and as you grow as a photographer, you will more than likely look back at your work and those great images from back then will now only seem nice.  




Nice images are a part of the learning process.  


Nice images are a springboard to great images.  


Nice images often capture memories and complete the story told by your prize winning, great images.


By all means, work at getting the great shots.  Showcase them.  Be proud of them.


But don’t dismiss the nice images!


“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson


Until next time.


Gerry van der Walt


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