Photograph vs. Snapshot

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by rokclmb, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. rokclmb

    rokclmb TPF Noob!

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    I've been lurking the forum and have seen several people commenting that a picture is "just a snapshot not a photograph." I always thought that a snapshot was a type of photograph. I'm new to photography and I'm just into it as a hobby so please excuse me if this is an "obvious to most people" answer.

    Thanks
     
  2. Vicelord John

    Vicelord John TPF Noob!

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    what they mean by snapshot is someone just turned a camera up to the subject and hit go. Photographs usually have some thought put into them and are taken for a reason and compisition is a consideration.
     
  3. JSD

    JSD TPF Noob!

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    To me the difference between the two is this:
    A snapshot implies little effort, you pop the camera- set on full auto- up to your eye and push the button without any thought to the process, and accept the results, period.
    A "photograph" is made by a sometimes lengthy thought process which could include considerations of the light, subject, time of day, angle of view, lens, camera settings, returning another time for better conditions, multiple exposures to get it right, careful post processing, and don’t forget a concept to start things going.

    JSD
     
  4. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    another way to look at the difference; a snapshot usually only appeals to the person who took it or someone who loves the person who took the photo.

    A photograph will appeal to strangers.
     
  5. ottor

    ottor No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Awesome !!! As I was reading this thread, I was thinking that I sometimes still take snapshots for myself, but I take photographs for others... Then I came to your reply.... :thumbup:

    Great minds, huh? .... :mrgreen:
     
  6. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    That description would include...

    • Moon and Half Dome by Ansel Adams.
    • Trailer Camp Children by Ansel Adams.
    • Georgia O'Keefe and Orville Cox by Ansel Adams.
    • Photo of a nude young girl running down a Vietnamese road, her clothes burned off by napalm.
    • Girl kneeling beside slain student at Kent State.
    Each of these photos is famous.

    I find "snapshot" to be an elitist term which someone uses as an excuse to dismiss a photo without any constructive C&C.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Snapshots are usually taken as visual recordings of things seen in daily life, with no artistic pretense. A simple "I was here" shot of a famous Yosemite landmark would be a snapshot if the photographer just brought the camera up to his eye and pressed the shutter release to simply capture a simple, visual record of the location. Same goes with countless other casual pictures made with no artistic pretense or planning. Snapshots often have very little interest to people who have no emotional involvement or connection to the subjects shown in the picture.

    The odd thing is that not every photograph is a snapshot, and yet every snapshot is a photograph. It's like Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart said about pornography: it's difficult to define it precisely, but, "I know it when I see it." It's that way with snapshots--you know when you are looking at snapshots, and you know also when you are looking at photographs.
     
  8. AliasPros

    AliasPros TPF Noob!

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    Definitely full manual vs full auto... start there...

    ALIAS
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    On the whole I feel that its rather like Derral put it - you don't quite know it to define it but when you see it you know what it is. Part of this is because the term snapshot varies from person to person based on the criteria that they use to define it from.

    For example auto or manual - well a photograph is only partly to do with exposure - it also has subject - context - content - composition and probably a few other things to attach to it which combine to define it.

    Saying that if one of those elements is automatic or highly control and thus defines a "snapshot" is foolish since it ignors the influence and importance of the other factors.

    Consider that one can easily take a snapshot when working in full manual mode (remember when cameras only had manual shooting modes? Well there are loads of snapshots from that era of photography).
    Whilst it is also possible to get a fantastic photograph when the camera chooses the settings in part or in full.
     
  10. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think this is the best answer.

    When are photo was taken with composition in mind, controlled lightning, thought, post process . . . and all those good stuff, it may still be snapshot if it did not appeal to others.
     
  11. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    IMO, snapshot vs photo has nothing to do with what mode the camera was in when the shot was taken. If full auto is snapshot and full manual is photo, then what is AV and TV? Or what about the semi auto modes like portrait or landscape? Are those considered photoshots? Or snapgraphs?

    I can spend 10 mins examining a scene, waiting for the right person to walk by, setting up the right light and looking for the right angle. And whether I use full, semi or manual mode doesn't make the image a snapshot.
     
  12. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    snap⋅shot  [snap-shot] Show IPA noun, verb, -shot or -shot⋅ted, -shot⋅ting.
    Use snapshot in a Sentence
    –noun
    1. an informal photograph, esp. one taken quickly by a hand-held camera.


    pho⋅to⋅graph  [foh-tuh-graf, -grahf] Show IPA
    Use photograph in a Sentence
    –noun
    1. a picture produced by photography.



    any other use of the words is elitist internet speak, as has already been mentioned. I'm not saying that I haven't done it too, I'm just sayin'.
     

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