One of the common things I see when doing workshops is how much phiddling, excuse me, fiddling goes on before a picture is taken. Fiddling, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this technical term, is the art of making unnecessary and ridiculously fine adjustments to a image that is basically just fine. The two places that people fiddle the most are with exposure and composition.

I think fiddling with exposure comes from the days when experts would tell us that our tonalities in our histogram should be well over to the right side because that is where most of the digital information lives. They then would encourage us to tweak our exposure to make move the tonalities to the right so just enough to make it perfect. What a bunch of nonsense! We spend so much time fiddling around with our exposure that by the time we got it just right either the light has changed or the subject has bounded away.

Fiddling with composition is a lingering after-effect of critiquing. Any one who has ever done a critique feels compelled to say something about every picture even if there is nothing really to say. This, of course, doesn’t apply to me because all my critiquing comments are magically insightful gems that are always elucidating and astonishingly educational! And it is actually okay to fiddle with your composition just don’t do it too finely in your camera.

boat as shot

cropped on left and top












And there is the point of all this- take the best picture you can and then when it is in your computer do the fine tuning, the fiddling there. Your computer is much more precise than your camera will ever be. In your computer you can vary just the dark tonalities or just the middle tones whereas in your camera when you vary your exposure you are effecting all your tonalities. Compositionally, in your computer you can crop just one side or two sides to get the best picture whereas in your camera when you zoom in or out you are effecting all sides of your composition.

as shot

cropped top and right








The images presented here are cropped on just two sides from how it was taken in the camera. I knew I was going to do this while I was taking the shot so I didn’t worry about the exact composition. I shot a little big and then made the precise crop in-camera.

Don’t get phrustrated phiddling around, shoot big and be happy!