(reposted Feb 2015)
I was talking to a friend about photography recently, and she blithely commented “if you are taking photos this good then you will do weddings, right?”.
She was quite surprised when I replied an answer of “No”. I am still very new at this and wedding photography is a quite specialised artform that requires a level of experience and skill that I do not have. And to be quite honest, it isn’t really a particular passion of mine. My response was that I would happily be a second shooter, and lurk around the edges of the event, and take the ‘other’ style of shots.
She also asked me what else I liked to shoot. I have previously commented here that ‘I will shoot anything that stays still long enough’ and that remains the case.
But there are some things for which I do have a particular photographic vision:
Birds – because they are such a difficult subject given they can fly, are hard to get near, and move quickly they are (to me) the ultimate challenge. And as I don’t have funds to afford the huge lens to get the shots, I have to be clever, and try and get closer which adds to the challenge.
Animals in general – cute fuzzy critters generally provide opportunities for nice shots. But, as they say in Hollywood, never act with children or animals, as they are unpredictable and difficult to work with. So like birds, there is an element of challenge
Sunsets, Sunrise, Clouds, Extreme Weather, Pretty Lights, Fire, Shiny things, Reflections, Flowers
Mostly I strive for two things in my photography from a creative point of view
1. To capture and record a moment that is not normally captured and seen so I can share it with others
2. To try and capture a different view of the world, something different, something reflecting me or my view, an outward expression of my inner photographer.
The above image is my current favourite example of a different view. Happened to be where this was with a camera and got this shot. And yet its a fixed landmark, been there for years and in a city of approx 500000 people *everyone* who saw this asked “so what was the special occasion for the lights” – no one (including me) realised they do this every night 🙂
Point 1 is one of the reasons I like to photograph dancers, because they are the ones performing, and otherwise they never see themselves from that point of view, so to them it is a *different* view
Point 1 was made quite clear to me with a recent sunset photo I shared around work, I had several people comment ‘where do you see these sunsets, cos I never see ones that look like that’
Simple answer is, I stalk sunsets. I start checking out the sky late afternoon, and seeing what the light and the clouds are doing, and prepare to race home and grab the camera (as the days are getting shorter). And 90% of the time they are a non event. Its the other 10% that make it worth the effort:)
And I guess thats the point of my vision, I *see* the potential in the sunset, and its about being in the right place at the right time to capture it if it happens. Sometimes its purely serendipity, but sometimes a little planning and thought and vision go a long way 🙂
Is that what differentiates a holiday snapper from a photographer?
I often think the difference between a snapper and a photographer is precisely to what you allude. But I might extend it by saying a photographer will wait, patiently, for the photo, while a snapper just takes whatever is available at the moment.
A snapper will head to the local park and snap pictures at that time because it’s convenient to them to do so. A photographer will head to the park when they think or know the lighting is right for the purpose they have in mind. They plan. They contemplate.
I think that seeing the potential in things is definitely what makes the difference between a photographer and someone who just uses a camera. I do a lot of both types of picture-taking, depending on what my purpose for taking the pictures is and how much time I have available.
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The difference form a happy snapper to a “photogrpaher” is a photographer has a vision behind their image, even if it is to record a moment; they craft the image in camera and while editing.
I think it is good not to be a jack of all trades, although I do shoot events and sometimes these are weddings, this is something I do to buy kit because my true passion is landscapes and still lifes.
Thanks Ben, that was my original reasoning behind getting into photography “recording a moment no one else might see so I can share it with them”
A photographer seeks the light, the light that works for them. And has a vision…
I like that, seeking the light. Yes we do whether we realise it or not, thanks Sue 🙂
Something that I have learned since starting landscape photography is that a major difference between a photographer and a person who just does snapshots is that a photographer has more vision. They can see the scene before them with processing in mind and know how they want it to look. Objects that get in the way and shadows that shouldn’t belong stand out. I was once on a photo walk with other photographers towards the evening and seen a group of trees sitting in a river. It was still relatively bright out at that moment and everyone walked by those trees but as I was looking at them I thought if I took a photo with the right composition I could do a long exposure with my ND filter then crop it down and convert to B&W and create a piece of art that was different. It was being able to see this vision that allowed me to use my creativity to get a shot of what others had seen as just ordinary trees sitting in the water.
It really helps doing landscape photography, it makes me slow down, think and BREATHE and have time for moments like what you describe above. I still struggle with making the image look like what I imagine it should but its all about the learning and experimenting 🙂
I am always looking around me and thinking about the next shot. I also stalk sunsets and am constantly on the lookout for a good one. That is the difference between a photographer and a snapper. The snapper just wants to record something they see. A photographer has a vision of what they want and seek it out purposely (even unconsciously) and then add to it post processing as the case may be.
I stalk sunsets too (I am SO not a morning person) and sometimes in CHCH with the norwester sky you can get some amazing ones. It took me a while to grasp the concept of envisioning the image you want to take. Im still working on the bit where the image looks like the vision tho 🙂
Love both photos you posted. A silly question though…why don’t you have your camera either you so you don’t have to “race home yo get it”?
This answer applies now and back when I wrote that post – even more so now! The reason I don’t have my camera with me is two main ones, first its currently 6KG kit when the backpack is fully loaded and including the tripod. Its a lot to carry around all the time!
Two, its over $10K worth of kit and I won’t leave it around, in fact these days if you leave it in a car most insurance companies won’t pay out now.
Wow…lucky you to have all that equipment!!! And I never knew insurance wouldn’t cover theft from a car…good to know
It’s taken many years of saving up and getting a bit lucky. Insurance companies don’t cover a lot of things these days, you have to read the fine print on your policy
Oops autocorrect changed the word with you to either you(don’t ask me why???) and the yo get it is a typo on my part…meant to get it…
I doubt these corrections make much sense….sorry