snapshot or not?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JenR, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. JenR

    JenR TPF Noob!

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    I don't really know where to ask this, but since it seems like a realy beginner questions, I'll post it here...

    What makes a picture a "snapshot" or something more?

    I apologize if this has been endlessly discussed and argued into the ground.
     
  2. dewey

    dewey TPF Noob!

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    No need to apologize, but it has been endlessly discussed and argued into the ground.

    I say go with the beauty in the eye of the beholder thing. ;)
     
  3. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    What makes a photo a snapshot or something more is really subjective. I say decide for yourself what you think a photo is.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    In 1888 the Eastman Company introduced the Kodak camera, and the marketing slogan "You press the button, and we do the rest." The camera came pre-loaded with roll film. It was pretty much set up to point and shoot, and when the film was all used up, the entire camera was sent back to Eastman Co. for processing and printing. The camera owner got back the prints, and their camera loaded with new film ready to go. This was the beginning of snapshot photography, because it allowed people who were unskilled, and even uninterested in photography to begin taking their own photographs.

    In 1889 Eastman Co. introduced roll film, and in 1891 they began selling a camera that could be loaded with film without going into a darkroom. Suddenly any goofball could be a photographer. Crusty colloidian plate photographers gathered to disparage the new technology, and all the unskilled people that were suddenly calling themselves photographers. It was just like the digital revolution! Except 110 years before, and no batteries. ;)

    The term snapshot is usually used to describe a photograph that was created without much thought or effort on the part of the person operating the camera. How much effort is required to turn a mere snapshot into a real photograph is a matter of much debate. Most of the time I see the term in online photography forum discussions it's used in a condescending manner such as "That's just a snapshot", meaning "Your photo sucks!" Not really very educational. It's my opinion that if a person is somewhat interested photography, then it's almost impossible to take a snapshot. If the photographer even momentarily considers composition, then it's no longer a snapshot. It may be a horribly bad photo, but it's not a snapshot.

    Aunt Betty, who whips the point-n-shoot camera out of her purse, holds it at arm's length, centering the subject, takes one pic, and sticks the camera away, is a snapshot shooter. She cares nothing about photography, or the quality of the photograph. She just wants some sort of likeness of her nieces and nephews to stick on the 'fridge. IMHO, if the thought "I wonder if there's anything I could do to make my photos better?" ever crosses Aunt Betty's mind, then she's no longer a snapshooter, even if she continues to use a point-n-shoot and make really bad photos.
     
  5. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    what he said.
     
  6. CMan

    CMan TPF Noob!

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    Ditto; the Aunt Betty analogy is a good one.
     
  7. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can liken photographs to sentences of words. Some sentences, such as those in 'Dick and Jane', are trivial. Some sentences are profound. The difference is in just what they say to the listener.
     

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