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Old Sep 30, 2007, 3:29 PM   #1
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Hi all. I'm to the point of understanding how lite effects shots, what a different setting will do to a picture. Used to use a Canon S2IS but am currently under the film bug with my dad's old Pentax ME Super soon to be Nikon FM2. Okay, back to the topic. When I look at various photo sites (flickr, the galleries here, etc) I wonder why a picture that someone takes of absolutely nothing special- looking down a sidewalk, out to a lake, anything that isn't really unique- can turn out to be a fantastic shot, but others that should be wonderful are frankly poor. So on to the root question: what is it about a picture that turns it from a snapshot to a photograph. Is it the composition, the subject, lighting, feel, etc. I've noticed that the best pictures are vibrant and easy to look at. No overwhelming bright spots, the DOF directs your eye to the target of the picture. Obviously it's not just one property that makes one better than the next, rather many aspects must be correct. I'm trying to develop my skills here and find it difficult if I don't truly know what to look for when I take a shot. Thanks, Kyle
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Old Sep 30, 2007, 4:02 PM   #2
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KyleJones wrote:
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... So on to the root question: what is it about a picture that turns it from a snapshot to a photograph.
Good question. The answer: The reception it receives.

A snapshot only talks to the camera operator and to family members. A photograph talks to everyone. What's the difference betweena child's fingerpainting and Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa? Luck? Skill? No! A child's fingerpainting only talks to the child, and, by entension, the child's parents. The Mona Lisa talks to everyone.

There's no one thing that turns a snapshot into a photograph. And all the things you mention help to make a snapshot into a photograph, but they're the Science of photography. What makes a photograph is the Art of photography. Without the Art, it's a snapshot.

So, what makes Art? How many people it talks to. In other words, the reception it receives.
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Old Sep 30, 2007, 4:17 PM   #3
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Further to TCav, a photograph has "Vision, Vision, Vision". It tells a story to most viewers.

It may have an unexpected point of view such as just the photographer shooting at ground level while everone else shoots at eyelevel standing up. It maybe dramatic lighting at sunrise or sunset while snapshots are taken at hign noon.

As you pointed out there are many factors but it boils down to the skill and inner vision of the photographer to capture the moment.
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Old Sep 30, 2007, 6:13 PM   #4
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Thanks fellas. I ws trying to avoid using art for some reason. When I shoot an average, nothing special to me shot I don't really 'feel' anything about it. Just oh, that would look nice through the lens. When I shoot something that comes out how I really want it to and one I think is one of the shots I think are better I feel different. Hard to explain, but it's almost in touch or something. I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. So what do some of you do to take these moving shots? My cousin (nearly pro) told me to take many angles of a subject instead of taking one and calling it good. This relates to Mr. Nichol'spoint.Anyone else have ideas? Kyle
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Old Sep 30, 2007, 7:24 PM   #5
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From time to time I shoot a photo that blows my socks off and impresses others including some good photographers. If I knew what I did to do that, all my shots would knock my socks off!

Practice makes perfect but even Tiger Woods has a bad day.
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Old Sep 30, 2007, 8:49 PM   #6
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That's definately reassuring. I think that like anything starting photography seriously is the hardest part. The time moving from P&S cams to controlling the parameters and sharing your work is also the most frustrating because- at least for me- image quality went down initially and then way back up. I'm just going to shoot till the camera smokes and then shoot some more, hopefully learning something along the way. Kyle
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 4:39 AM   #7
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As long as it's not about money, it's about fun, so have fun.

And even if it becomes about money, that doesn't mean it can't also be about fun.
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 9:31 AM   #8
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A photo of some guy's wife in front of the Eiffel Tower says very little. A picture of Adolf Hitler in front of the Eiffel Tower says volumes.
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 9:50 AM   #9
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KyleJones wrote:
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... I ws trying to avoid using art for some reason. ...
I can understand that - it seems that a lot of "art" is pretentious hype. Having said that, I would recomend looking at photos in art galleries and in good books. Look at the ones that grab you and try to figure out how they were made. High/low saturation? High/low contrast? Side lit? Early/late light? Several lights (where are they)? Great timing? ...

Shooting, looking at your own photos, doing some reading, and (most importantly) thinking about what you are doing will get you along the path you want.
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Old Oct 1, 2007, 11:35 AM   #10
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BillDrew, I've been trying to do just that type of analysis on nearly every attention gathering photo I see. I've found that for artificially lit shots most were done with many more resources than I have available- basically anything more than a camera-mounted flash. I realized during my bike ride to class today that I have control over the camera, so that part is covered. It's subjects and how they're shot that I need to work on now.

BEECEE, I see what you mean. So in effect the subject can make the difference between a good and bad shot, all else being equal.

TCav- I try to convince myself that I shoot strictly for my own good, but it's just not true. I shoot so other people can see what I see, from my view of the world. Kyle
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