1. More is less when the weight, size and complexity of the gear makes you less aware of your environment, less spontaneous, less able to capture the serendipitous moment. Of course, if you are shooting Cathedral Rock in Sedona or patiently waiting under camouflage to get the perfect swarm of shore birds in flight, then bring all the gear.
2, Learning more and more photographic styles and editing techniques, and stretching yourself all the time, can be less, if you never master anything or don’t develop a style. When you try acquiring advanced pano skills while you’re still trying to perfect the straight-on shot of Mount Rainier, then more can be less.
3. If you are not totally familiar with your high end, professional or prosumer camera, then photographing with more custom settings can be less. If you haven’t yet “become one” with your machine, keep it relatively simple. There are happy mediums between total custom and total auto. That doesn’t mean the money you’ve spent on the camera is wasted. You still have a superior sensor, more megapixels, image stabilization, and many other features that add great value in any mode.
4. More is less when you try so many types of photography and subject matter that you never have a body of work that can fill up a solo show, or a book, or provide an even modest legacy. This obviously overlaps with #2.
5. Seeking out criticism from more and more photographers and experts, thus crowding out feedback from ordinary lovers of art, is often less. The same image will elicit vastly different reactions from a room full of photographers, a gathering of diverse artists, or a group of art lovers (who are not artists).
6. Doing more conceptual/narrative (as distinguished from decorative) photography may be less, if the concept has been well worn. There are precious few new or “aha” photographic narratives. This is of course a matter of taste. When I’ve seen the one thousandth image trying to remind me how small and inconsequential I am as a human being, a grain of sand , it leaves me cold. (Cold as in “yawn,” not cold as in “depressed”). I’d much rather be looking at a pretty flower.
7. More edgy can be less if you’re doing it just to be edgy. Faux edgy looks contrived. Even casual viewers will notice, now that all of us are inundated with edgy photographs. Much of edgy ceased being edgy a long time ago.
8. The pursuit of more pixel perfection can be less, if it makes you discard works with great color or composition. Most “ordinary” (not meant condescendingly) viewers don’t see or care about the imperfections you see as a professional photographer.
9. More cohabitation with Contemporary Art (e.g., as reviewed all the time in the Art section of the L.A. Times), may be less, if it moves you, for example, to appropriate other people’s Facebook posts, print them sloppily on a low end Epson, punch holes in the center of each, and display all 12,000 of them on a stick. Sorry, I can’t get past that one.
10. Taking more pictures on a photo shoot or expedition, like 8000, rather than 200, may be less, if it dissuades you from sorting and editing soon (as in “Oy, I can’t get myself to plunge into that morass), or leads to boredom once you do get off the dime. Have more confidence in the first two takes.
11. Seeing more and more photos can be less, if the sheer volume of great shots out there makes you feel hopeless about distinguishing your work. Or, if it desensitizes you to what’s really good in your own work.
12. Too much analysis of photography may be less, if it’s paralyzing or takes up too much of your time. Reading more articles like this one, can be less.
I hope reading this will aid your journey, even though it caused you to miss the wonderful shot of your cat flopping off the fire place mantle.