The Importance of Multiple Shots

I’m big on taking multiple shots — I use an old pool term and call them “safety shots.” Storage is ridiculously cheap compared to a few years ago. I’ve got plenty of room on my iPhone to shoot more images than I need. There’s no excuse not to shoot multiple shots — as many as you can get — when the subject affords you the opportunity.

Multiple shots are the extra images you take just in case the one you thought was perfect doesn’t look as good on a big screen as it did in-camera. The more shots you take, the more like you are to get that perfect “keeper.” Think of them as insurance that you get the photo you want. When a photographer is focused on composition, subject, and moment, sometimes other unwanted things happen in a photo — a subject blinks or a car drives into the background. Sometimes, you just don’t get it right.

If you’ve followed the blog for any length of time, you probably know of my love for the old Federal Highways — the old road. This weekend, Stacy and I took a photo road trip up Jacksboro Highway all the way to Wichita Falls. Wichita Falls has a gorgeous old movie palace that I’d never photographed. The light was perfect. I had my Photojojo lenses with me.

I usually take multiple shots especially with a static subject like a building. But this time I was complacent. I thought I’d taken the perfect ticket booth shot. Looking at the image on my phone, I thought I’d nailed it on the first try. A keeper. I moved on to other shots without taking any additional shots.

Later, after we’d returned home, I looked at the image on the larger screen of my laptop. In my “perfect” shot, I found that my framing was off and the image was a bit crooked. You can see it above. I can still work with the photo, but I’ll have to trim a bit of image from the edges to make it work.

Multiple shots don’t take much longer to capture — you’re already set up. Most iPhone photo apps now have fast recovery times. There’s plenty of storage space on your iPhone.

Granted, sometimes a moment comes and goes so quickly, as a photographer you’re lucky to get one shot in. But, more often than not, there is plenty of time to grab a few extra captures… just in case.

It’s better to have a shot and not need it than to not have one and wish you did. Extra files are easy to delete. I got lazy this weekend. For important photos, there are no excuses for not taking multiple shots.



About Marty Yawnick (1783 Articles)
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Paul Moore

    Great idea about safety shots. Sometimes I go too far though and then have difficulty picking the shot I want afterwards:) Another thing that I do when taking a shot is to pull back a bit further than I need to. It is far preferable to have to crop a shot later than to realise part of your subject has gone out of frame.

  • Jock Bradley

    Marty – I'm a pro sports photographer and shoot with Nikons that will shoot at 9 frames per second. I go through a lot of CF cards on a typical shoot. It is the same reason as what you describe here. I would rather have a few extra shots that I edit than to have missed the right photo. Also when shooting with my iPhone it is much easier for me to slow down and compose the shot. Still I put extras in the "can" just in case.

  • Gordon Fraser

    Whenever I am shotting in low light I try to take a couple in case….it's so frustrating to find your perfect shot is actually perfect in every way…except it's blurred!

  • Sally Lindsay

    Love the old Fed Hiways, too, Marty, and have traveled them a lot. I am blessed here in the East, to be near many….if you're ever coming East, give a shout and I can point you in some good directions!