Saturday, November 06, 2010

Shoot Two Rolls Of Film and Show Me The Pictures From The Second Roll

In my second year in design school, my product photography professor gave me two rolls of film and asked me to shoot pictures of products and develop the pictures. However, he did not want to see the pictures from the first film roll. He said, "Those are for you to see and learn. I have already learned everything one can learn from the mistakes one makes while shooting the first roll of film".

It was a great lesson of making something to learn, even if no one else other than the maker sees what he makes. Today, my colleagues and I do this while designing enterprise software products. We make prototypes to think. Some times only the person who make the prototype sees the first version. Sometimes, the first version is so basic, we hide it from others. Sometime we create mobile prototypes for products for which we have no plans to release a mobile version.

If you have a design problem, I suggest you try this. Make a prototype. Don't show the first two or three versions to others. Show them only after you have learned from the mistakes and have addressed all the things you can address.

PS: For those of you who are wondering what is a film roll and why someone shoots photos using film, I went to school in the late eighties when we went through this unimaginably slow process of shooting 36 pictures on a roll of film, developing it painstakingly in a studio where we inhaled a lot of chemical fumes. We also usually spent 30 minutes or so preparing for one shot, because we had only 36 frames in a roll.
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