Taking Better Pictures

Taking Better Pictures

What’s the difference between a snapshot and a portrait, or a piece of fine art photography? For one, probably price; then the photographer’s skill and experience, the equipment used, the lighting, the post processing, the print quality. That’s a start. Normally, a snapshot comes from your own point-and-shoot or camera phone, then is either printed as a 4x6 by your local department store, or simply shared on social media. Hopefully it’s not kept on your device and never shared, then accidently deleted.

Here are some definitions:

Source: Me
Portrait: Result of the mind of the artist in connection with the subject, taking into account the environment, mood, and lighting.
Snapshot: Result of a camera picked up to capture a moment.

Source: Dictionary.reference.com
Snapshot: An informal photograph, especially one taken quickly, by a hand-held camera.
Portrait: a likeness of a person, especially of the face, as a painting, drawing, or photograph

Then we turn to Wiki
Portrait: A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot
, but a composed image of a person in a still position.
Snapshot: A snapshot is popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically "imperfect" or amateurish—out of focus or poorly framed or composed. Common snapshot subjects include the events of everyday life, such as birthday parties and other celebrations, sunsets, children playing, group photos, pets, tourist attractions and the like.

OK, then - Can you get a snapshot that looks like a portrait? Absolutely, and I hope to help you get closer to that goal.

Can a portrait look like a snapshot? Well, of course the goal is “no”. But it happens! Those are the images that you don’t see! They are left in-computer. Deleted? Probably not – I have a hard time deleting anything.

So why hire a professional photographer? To keep me in business of course, and it IS all about me after all, right? J But seriously. A professional photographer has the experience to quickly analyze the scene and capture the best shot. She knows how to: Best pose a subject, take advantage of a model’s best features, and diminish the not-so-perfect features; Use lighting to enhance the model; Capture a child’s personality; and Use props to accentuate the scene. And hiring a professional provides that special experience. It says “this is a special day” and “I can be the star”. And lastly, a professional photographer has a “good camera”. And I say lastly and rather tongue-in-cheek because it’s so minor. Equipment is important, but it’s not the most essential element. One of the most frustrating statements I hear when a client sees some of my most prized pieces is “wow, these are wonderful, you must have a good camera” arrrrgggghhhh!!!

So here are some tips for getting your snapshots to look more like portraits. This is the outline I intend to follow, but it may change as I get questions or comments, or more ideas.

1. Composition
2. Lighting
3. subject
4. focus
5. surroundings
6. mood, story
7. pose
8. photo editing

stay tuned

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