Unlike the days of film photography, one of the real benefits of digital photography is that it doesn’t cost you each time you press the shutter.  Conversely, this is also one of the real problems with digital photography.

Back in the days of film photography, you had a small finite number of shots available to you before you had to change the film in your camera.  That was typically 12, 24, or 36 shots.  Every roll of film had to be purchased and you had to pay to have it developed and printed.  Every click of the shutter had a cost associated with it.  The result of this was that you thought about every image that you created.  Is it composed correctly?  Is the exposure right?  What are the best settings?

In photography today we have a tendency to ‘spray and pray’.  Ie we talk many many shots and hope that one of them will be right.  While this approach can produce good images it has some obvious inherent drawbacks.  Not only does it mean you have a large number of images to search through and edit but it doesn’t help photographers learn the skills necessary to ‘nail a shot’ first time or understand the settings to be used.

A 120:20 Photography challenge is something I invented.  Its aim is to take you back to those film days and make you think about the images you create and the settings you used to make them.

You have 2hrs (120mins) to create exactly 20 images.   There is, of course, a catch.  Each image must be of a different subject – so no retakes.  Not only that it’s no deletions either – all images are consecutive ‘frame numbers’.  And to add to the pressure even more – you agree to show your images to the world.  That can be by loading them on Flickr or Facebook or some other photo-sharing platform.

I’ve run the challenge quite a few times and those who have taken part have found it helpful.  When we do the challenge on the cruise ships (on the longer cruises) it is relatively easy to complete the challenge and no one really needs two hours.  In a major city like Manchester however, it is much harder as you need to time not only to make your images but to get to each location that you are going to photograph.

If you want to have a go at this challenge and are within travelling distance of the Anderton Boat Lift in Northwich, Cheshire, I am running it as a free event on Sunday 25th August.  For more information and to book your place please visit this page:  https://www.ians-studio.co.uk/events/12020-challenge-anderton-boat-lift/

To see the results of some of my attempts at this challenge why not visit these galleries:

http://photos.imb.biz/Portfolio/Manchester120-20 (From Manchester 2008)

http://photos.imb.biz/travel/ship/marcopolo/120-20Challenge1509 (From MV Marco Polo 2015)

http://photos.imb.biz/travel/ship/magellan/120-20Challenge1801 (From MV Magellan 2018)

I hope to see you the Anderton Boatlift on Sunday 25th August

Until next time, keep MAKING great images,


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