A Snapshot or A Photograph

January 01, 2020

So I get the question often in my workshops from newbies and enthusiasts..."How do I really become a better photographer" ?  Well the answer is it's pretty subjective to a certain degree.  Define a snapshot it is considered a cursory image, a quick record of something or someone. Most people take snapshots. A photograph may not be all that much more than a snapshot, but the person is trying to make a better or more meaningful image. Carefully observing the present light, backgrounds, contrasts, compositions, timing, depth or not  and of course knowing where to shoot from or stand.  

Then there are perspectives and point of view, (which are two different circumstances). Point of view is the type of narrative you've chosen to promote in the scene. On the other hand, perspective is about how the process or character shows what's happening in the image. Carefully working these two thoughts in your composition will very much improve the outcomes. There will always be a debate that candid street shooting are snapshots and in truth most are. This may be what makes a moment interesting in a journalistic way.   However it is possible to make a candid street photograph, as opposed to a snapshot by setting up the scene or in waiting for a particular strategic moment to happen in a prejudged composition.

All too often people are taking snapshots only in hopes to get something others will like.  You can see many examples in social media like Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and Smug Mug, Google etc;  where people snap away with cellphones.  In most cases you will not see the outcome as a photograph, but rather resulting in a not so interesting snapshot, which will need to be explained in a narrative. 

Often hobbyist and advanced photographers will promote "location, location, location" OR "travel, travel, travel" thinking and hoping it will guarantee you a stunning and interesting photograph....not always true!  There needs to be careful thought, timing, knowledge of light and camera operation know how.  If you don't know your camera it's modes, compensations and abilities as a tool, your outcome may not be at it's best. 

Finally there is post processing...As you may or may not know there are now labs that process raw images for a fee. This is an area of expertise that needs knowledge, hardware and experience to get the highest outcome, especially for enlarging and printing.  I see far too many photo's where the colors, contrasts, dynamic range and details just don't make the mark. Most often it is the colors and lighting that are wrong.  I believe that often this is due to the use of the auto white balance setting in camera and or monitor calibration regardless of the medium used. This is also apparent in monochrome photo's as well as the overuse and over processing, although such may be intentional by the shooter....that's fine I guess.

So all this is why my workshops touch on all of the above....from knowing and using your camera manually, achieving composition, lighting, perspective, point of view and the eventual processed outcome. 

If you would like to seek help with a photograph that you have taken, you're welcome to send me a large (preferably) raw file for critique (limit 2 images). I will, if possible, reprocess the image and send it back to you for free to see if it can be visually better.  This is offered to you to see if there is room for you to grow photographically. Send to file:

[email protected]

 

 


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