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Old Nov 22, 2005, 3:07 AM   #1
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This shot of my girlfriends niece made me wonder about what is the difference between a portrait and a snapshot. I came to the conclusion the a snapshots only value is a sentimental value where as a portrait will have artistic value.

I am hoping this qualifies as a portrait - but its hard to tell because this photo has sentimental value to me...
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Old Nov 22, 2005, 3:39 AM   #2
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Snapshot: A photograph taken with a small hand-held camera
Portait: A likeness of a person, especially one showing the face, that is created by a painter or photographer.

Thus a snapshot can be a portrait, its a great picture and I wouldnt worry what to call it I'd get an 8x10 of it and be proud of it.
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Old Nov 22, 2005, 5:09 AM   #3
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VictorEM83 wrote:
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Snapshot: A photograph taken with a small hand-held camera
Portait: A likeness of a person, especially one showing the face, that is created by a painter or photographer.

Thus a snapshot can be a portrait, its a great picture and I wouldnt worry what to call it I'd get an 8x10 of it and be proud of it.
Occasionally, it's nice to not see an in depth analysis of the rights and wrongs the wheres and whys and all the darned arguments............that's one of the best responses I've seen in a while !!

Short, to the point and a nice comment on the snaprait/portshot of a cute niece .
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Old Nov 22, 2005, 9:49 AM   #4
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Hate to ruin the moment for you then Stevekin , as this is posted in the critique forum. I guess what someone considers a snapshot or a portrait will vary. I place a snapshot along the lines of a candid and a portrait as more planned. Cute as this picture is, it comes across to me as a snapshot.

As far as critique, the center of DOF seems to be a right around the mouth. I think if the eyes were in focus it would be an improvement so you needed more DOF or a different focal point.
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Old Nov 22, 2005, 11:52 AM   #5
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Widowmaker wrote:
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Hate to ruin the moment for you then Stevekin
Yeah, I didn't think it would last :-).

It was just nice to see an uncomplicated and nice response.

You can all get back to normal now .
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Old Nov 22, 2005, 12:10 PM   #6
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Stevekin,

Wow, what a relief. I actually drafted a response earlier and couldn't post it.

So back to normal then...

I hate the idea that snapshot = not very good.

It is very frequently used that way. However I believe that it is essentially a genre of photograph in its own right and the "rules" of photography apply equally to snapshots as to any other genre.

I generally feel that "portraits" are planned, and of course sometimes shot in a studio where the photographer has full control over the lighting.

IMO Some of the greatest photographs ever taken fall within the snapshot genre.

So the real question is not whether this is a snapshot or a portrait, it's obviously a snapshot. The question is whether it's a good snapshot or not, and the answer is that it has some problems.

The focus point is the most obvious one. The eyes need to be in focus, and they're not here. All rules can be broken of course, but the photograph has no compelling reason why the eyes here shouldn't be in focus, so it's a problem. Secondly, the lighting is not very flattering, now one has greater latitude within the snapshot genre, but even so one should be aiming for less contrast, the shadow cuts the face quite harshly. Tough to deal with that African sun I know.

Next there is the question of the composition. The eyes are looking down and we can't see what she's looking at, sometimes that doesn't matter much, but here it seems to bother me.

The framing/crop is a worry to me too, the eyes are looking left, but we have a lot of space on the right. Feels a bit unbalanced.

I'd be inclined to try something like this...


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Old Nov 22, 2005, 12:44 PM   #7
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Sorry for holding you up Craig, and I can see normality has resumed :lol:.

I like your edit, certainly theimage is all the better for the crop.
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Old Nov 22, 2005, 12:56 PM   #8
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ok, so i really see it as 2 categories..

1) portrait - planned, requiring setup, some artistic thought/goal.

2)candid- shot in the moment based on a reaction..
a)snapshot-a form of candid whos main appeal is to those close to the subject.

note that there is not a ranking value attached to these categories.. they are simply categories.. so within each category there are various degrees of "success"...

there are lots of good portraits and lots of bad portraits.. just as there are good and bad candids (and thus snapshots)..

snapshots usually get a negative definition because there are simply lots and lots of BAD snapshots... thus one comes to expect bad snapshots and it becomes part of its definition..

p.s. nice edit craig

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Old Nov 22, 2005, 3:58 PM   #9
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I'm really glad you asked that question John - it's been on my list of "must ask" for a while.Great answers above.
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Old Nov 23, 2005, 1:49 AM   #10
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Thanks very much for the critiques guys - and thanks very much for the edit, it certainly imrpoves the shot.
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