Dear friend,

I have this principle I’ve followed in my photography and life — the “25% rule.”

 Man in a flower field

The 25% rule in photography

 Smiling Grandma

The concept is simple. When you’re out taking photos, try to shoot 25% more of a scene (than you think you should).

For example, you see someone you want to photograph. Then you approach them for permission. They say yes. Then you take a few photos, and you feel guilty for wasting their time, and you want to leave.

 Grandma smiling on an intersection - Walid Azami

When you feel that moment of awkwardness, think of the 25% rule. Try to shoot 25% more than you think you should. So if you’ve shot only 5 photos of them, try to shoot at least 2-3 more photos. Push your limits.

 Eye contact
 Working Hands by Walid Azami

For me, I know that my best photos are often at the end. When I’m photographing a scene, I often get too trapped in one perspective. But when I push myself 25% more, I need to move my position. I take a step closer, or further away. I move left, or right. I try to shoot more verticals instead of just horizontals. I try to use a flash. 

In real life, I also try to apply the 25% rule. When I’m working out, I try to do 25% more repetitions than I think I can. When I’m upset, frustrated, or angry — I try to be 25% more patient. When it comes to pricing in business, I try to price 25% more than I think I should.

I just thought of 25% as a general concept. It can be anything for you — 1%, 5%, 50%, 100%. Whatever helps push you to the next level.

The basic concept is to not become complacent. To push your limits to the next level. To break through the glass ceiling. To soar towards the heavens.

Never stop hustling,

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