Friday, June 3, 2016

Snapshots vs. Photographs.



“Every photographer is a snapshooter at heart. I don’t know of a fine art photographer, regardless of their pretentious, who didn’t also take snapshots”.                                
                                Michael Reichmann

Many people nowadays have cameras. Almost everyone has camera phones. Consequently, millions of people with an interest in photography are taking pictures of families and friends, weddings and birthday parties, sunsets, trips, pets, flowers, so on and so on.

However not all photographers even with a good camera create high quality images.

What can be done to stand out from the crowd?
What can be done to take great photographs? And is it so awful to take snapshots?

And what’s the difference between a snapshot and a photograph?

To many photographers the word “snapshot” can be a pejorative term, a synonymous with bad composition and bad lighting, bad point of view and bad focus.
And many pro photographers tend to discount snapshot photography.

As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, a snapshot is an informal photograph that is taken quickly; a casual photograph made typically by an amateur with a small handheld camera.

As defined by Wikipedia, a snapshot is a photograph that is “shot” spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically “imperfect” or amateurish—out of focus or poorly framed or composed.

We could say that a snapshot is just a memory of something (an event, an object or a person). Snapshots are the visual recordings of daily life, with no artistic pretense. Usually they are unplanned and unprepared.

Snapshots record a personal history.
They are interesting and important only to those who know the people and places in the photos and therefore have emotional connection to the subjects in the picture.

On the other hand, snapshots often have very little interest to people who have no such emotional connection.



You may be surprised, but there are thousands and thousands of snapshots, trying to capture famous objects such as Yosemite National Park or Egyptian pyramids.
A simple “I was here” shot of these and other great objects would be a snapshot when a photographer just pressed the shutter release with no planning or artistic pretense.

 I’m not an exception. I’m afraid I have a good collection of snapshots :)
 Maybe I’ll delete most of them later.
 Or maybe I’ll edit some of them…
 But from time to time I like to take a look at some of them.
This one remind me of the wonderful trip to Tossa de Mar (Catalonia, Spain).
Tossa de Mar

Well, a snapshot of something you want to remember is better than no photo at all. But you can have a high quality image instead of a piece of information.

As defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary a photograph is a picture made by a camera.

A photograph is an artistic interpretation of an event, an object or a person.
Good photos speak to the viewer on an emotional level. And they speak to many people, not just one or two.
Foremost, a photograph makes the viewer feel something.
It doesn't have to be a profound message. But it should make the viewer feel an emotion or think about an idea or a concept.

The second thing that a high quality photograph needs to have is good composition.

Taking photographs requires a lot of skill, careful thought and experimentation.
This is not easy, but it is worth pursuing.
(However you need to keep in mind: no one could guarantee that your photograph will be considered as a good one. But it’s another story :)).

In order to create a good photograph, a photographer needs to have a solid understanding of the technical and aesthetic sides of photography.

To take photographs rather than snapshots,
1) think
        - before you shoot (for example, get familiar with location, surf for best weather conditions),
        - about the composition (for example, get composition ideas),
        - about the story or main idea;
2) take pictures of things you are truly interested in;
3) focus on the photographic process, not just pushing the shutter button.


Sometimes the line which separates a snapshot from a good photograph can be rather thin.

And sometimes you’ll find some snapshots even more interesting than the technically proficient photographs.

So is it bad to take snapshots? Not at all.
 In fact, life is mostly about them.  So do not lose the chance to get photos that may be less than perfect.  They are documenting life as it happens and that’s why they may be perfect in other ways…
We don’t doubt a snapshot, because it shows us something that actually happened.

But keep in mind that you are able to take the other snapshot of a memory of a vacation and you are able to make a photograph that the viewer might consider hanging on the wall as a beautiful piece for his home.

The choice is yours.

The Last Colors of Fall

“The last colors of fall” has 1176 “likes” of the members of YourShot community (National Geographic) from USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Italy and other countries and is one of the editors’ favorites (read more here).
And it won 2 awards on ViewBug: “Staff winter selection” and “Good job” (information is here).

So it’s a photograph, not a snapshot, isn’t it? :)

Thank you for reading.
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