What makes it a "photo"?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Santa Gertrudis, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. Santa Gertrudis

    Santa Gertrudis TPF Noob!

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    What makes a picture a photograph and not a snapshot? Just looking for people's different opinions on it. A lot of pictures that I have taken, and consider pretty good for my skill level, others consider snapshots. I'm not offended by any means. I take it as motivation to get out there and practice more and more. I'm just looking for different views on the subject. Thanks!
     
  2. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thought. Intent.
     
  3. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    I think it's all in people's opinion. I personally think that it should kind of tell a story. By that I mean that you should be able to look at the photo and be able to tell what's going on, what may have happened, or what might happen. Some other things to consider could be composition: Are you taking shots of kids from your height versus down low as to be in their "world"? Lighting: did you use straight flash or did you take the time to diffuse it somehow such as bouncing it? Settings: Are you letting the camera do all the work? I have take many shots that I felt were great using auto mode but you can get much better results by controlling the exposure.

    Just my opinion
     
  4. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    You should have thought about the shot for more then a second (while raising the camera to your eye), and you should have tried to figure out how the subject would best be framed. Along with that would be what you think the best dof would be, and how you want your exposure to enhance the image.

    IE If you are walking down the street and see a cool fire hydrant and want to take a photo of it, the snapshot method would probably involve you putting the camera in an auto mode, then looking down and taking a shot at a 45 degree angle.

    Something with more thought may have you getting down low, putting the camera on a tripod, using a slower shutter so you get some vehicle motion in the background, and a wider aperture to give blur out some of the other distractions.
     
  5. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    I have to disagree with that. Although it is often true, it is not always.


    I find it much easier to agree with Big on this one.

    I've mentioned a few times on this forum that one of my best selling art photo was shot with a Kodak Brownie with a scratched lens. One thing about this image I didn't mention is that it was shot when I was about 12...

    Thought? Intent? I don't think so. What the hell does a 12 yo think about when taking a stupid photo? It was years later that I decided that shot was great and I printed it. Not only was the good photo an accident but it was a miracle of sorts that the negative survived.

    More often than not I will have to agree with Big: it is a matter of opinion.
     
  6. Santa Gertrudis

    Santa Gertrudis TPF Noob!

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    Just so it's known, I don't mean for the thread to be a "hey, how do I take pictures better than Jimbo over here" thread.

    The replies so far are exactly what I was hoping for! Since it seems to be a matter of opinion to most, I'm looking to read about those different opinions.
     
  7. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well, we should take it for granted, that there are no hard fast answers here, period.
    There are also Happy Accidents, where the stars align, and the 12 year old gets that "great shot". ;)
     
  8. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    a snapshot for me is one that only appeals to the person who took the image or the people in the image,or knows the photographer, a photograph appeals to strangers.
     
  9. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm, very true... ;)
     
  10. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Absolutely true. But what happens when this snapshot becomes a work of art?
     
  11. ghpham

    ghpham TPF Noob!

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    eh...one man's snapshot is another man's "photo" ;). Go out and enjoy your camera!
     
  12. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup:
     

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