Yearly Review

By Roger (14 Nov 2013)

At the end of every year, I go through an annual (hopefully, contemplative) photo review. I look for photos I never got to in post-processing; trends in what I'm shooting; and things that need to be deleted. I'm actually catching up on my post-processing. I've blogged about culling photos from the database and hard drive, so I won't go down that road, again. This year, as I'm considering a new lens purchase, so I decided to look at trends in how I use my lenses.

Things were going pretty well. I already knew my most used lens is the 70-200mm; it accounted for almost exactly 50% of my photos. The 28-300mm came in next. It is my walk-around lens, so it gets a lot of use. It was artificially high, however, because I used it for the wedding in Poland when I broke my 70-200. Third place was the 400mm I've rented several times this year for my sesquicentennial project. And the other lenses were used quite a bit, 105mm macro. I only used it about 2% of the time. Hmmm.

This is why I do these things – to find new insights to my work and point to some areas I may want to consider changing for the coming year. The fact is I knew I wasn't using this fine lens as much as the others; I just didn't know the stats would come out so lopsided.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Mark loaned me his light tent early last year when I thought I wanted to try some macro work. It's still in its case somewhere in my library. (Obviously, he hasn't been shooting too many macro photos using his light tent, either.) The last time we blogged about anything macro was last December when Mark put up Christmas tree ornaments. I guess we should put up some macro blogs in 2014.

Macro lenses can fill your frame with chocolates.

Of course, the 105mm macro is not a single purpose lens. It is a great lens for portraits, with a maximum aperture of 2.8 and delivers the bokeh that so many people like in portraits. For many photographers, this lens and/or the 85mm are the go-to lens for portraits.  The low use here indicates I've been a little lazy in my portraits and have been relying on the 70-200 zoom, instead of zooming with my feet.


I've happily used the 105 for photos of many other subjects, too. In fact, I've had a lens of this focal length almost as long as I've been making photographs. It just needs to find its way back onto my play list.

The 105mm macro lens is not limited to making photos of small objects.

The 105mm macro lens is not limited to making photos of small objects.

There are lots of good reasons to add a little analysis of your photography during the end of year review. You may want to look something else than the items on my list. Are your best photographs from the year landscapes? Maybe you should shoot more of those or put more efforts into something else. If you like street photography, but only tried it a couple times, you may decide to make a bigger effort on that next year. Heck, maybe you think this whole exercise is futile. The decision is always yours, but, for me, it is worth the time and helps influence some of what I plan for the next year.