Lately I've been coming up against a new problem: when is a photo done? Last year, there was a problem with the same name, but the answer was "About ten minutes after I think it's done." This year the answer seems to be "About an hour before I think it's done." Two years ago, I'd get to the point where I'd want to stop, which is not to be confused with having finished, and it would take a lot of effort to keep going, mainly because I didn't have a good set of options from which to choose. For example, were I to do this photo again today, I would include a rim light on his head and shoulders, to mimic the movie projector light better.
But that option didn't occur to me back then.
Working on this whiskey bottle, I got it to the point depicted on the left, then I spent an hour or so more fooling around with the smoke.
I know I could have messed around with different backgrounds, made the whiskey amber instead of black, accented the cap instead of the label, etc, so I have more options now, and that's great, but it's still not easy to tell when a photo is done.
Ideally, I'll be working with an art director, or at least a stylist and an assistant, instead of on my own. It's much easier to decide with some additional input.
It looks to me now that the smoke picture is overdone.
Come to think of it, however, the smoke one might be underdone. There's a kind of rhythm to it, a kind of "not done...not done...not done...DONE...not done...not done...not done...DONE...".
And a rhythm like that is exactly the sort of thing my intuition can easily pick up, so I get once again to the bottom line: listen to my intuition.