The Photography Network - PictureSocial

I pose this question, 'What's the difference between a snapshot and a photograph?" I would appreciate some seriously thoughtout responses to help me better understand this concept. Thank you for your time.

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Comment by Robert Davis on April 5, 2013 at 2:06pm

Kent - Wahoo, you're very exemplary in your comment. All the various view points have all aluded to the same general consensus - precisely what you have said. Thanks for joining in.

Comment by Kent Leckie on April 5, 2013 at 1:44pm

Snap - Shot to gain something quick without much thought or preparation. to just catch hopefully something that looks good, no foresight, no time for planning quick and sudden.

All of these in my mind are Snap - Shot. Now Photography Wow can I go right off on this one...I will refrain as I think my point is clear.



Comment by Robert Davis on February 6, 2013 at 3:31pm

Gloria - Ohmigosh, I love those words, "bring your heart with your camera". One of the hardest things to teach is seeing and this weekend I'm teaching a two day workshop via ghost towns on this very subject, I would like to use Johns words, do you think he'll mind?

Ah - evocative, that touches on the reality of what is Art. It's interesting to note that what person considers art another would throw in the garbage while another would show it like it was a multimillion dollar item.

As we see with our heart we also see with our past, hence we have on colored glasses (of sorts) to look through. All of lifes experiences come into play and present us with a series of preconceptions. It's these preconceptions that gets us into trouble. The best students I've had has been 5-6-7 year olds as they have little to none at all preconceptions of any type.

I like your thought, " ... feeling with your eyes = a photograph!" Well said.

Many blessings

Comment by gloria randriakoto on February 6, 2013 at 12:32pm

Indeed, as a photographer you feel with your eyes, not only see.   That would make the results of your shutter trigger a photograph which also becomes evocative, not only a snapshot.

The member John C. put it very well into words "bring your heart with your camera".

Comment by Robert Davis on February 6, 2013 at 11:00am
Gloria, thank you for commenting on my blog. I find your thoughts on this subject to be quite envigorating (mentally) thank you for taking the time to share with us. I've found that everyone approaches their subject(s) differently yet the same, much as we all drive a vehicle (personal transportation) but utilize different makes, colors, accessories and models. One of the biggest hurdles the semi-accomplished photographer has is the ability to visualize a given scene as their camera/lens would extrapolate it. This ability to "See" is paramount in not only acquiring the image but in the pre-visualization of how the finished image will appear. Finished images, obviously, are those hanging on the wall, but have gone through a metamorphosis from the original camera file to the finished product via a preconcieved concept that may or may-not have changed during the process. It's this ability to mentally "See" or having a plan of action that encompasses every image's process and should be, at least subconsciously, incorporated at the beginning when the camera's shutter is engaged. This within itself, I personally believe, is what sets a "Snapshot" apart from a "Photograph."
Please feel free to comment more on this subject with us as we need to have as many points of views as possible to fully understand this topic in depth.
Many blessings
Comment by gloria randriakoto on February 5, 2013 at 10:31pm

After getting very familiar with your tools (camera, et al) I believe the most important step is to learn to actively see.  Thus you have to connect with your surrounding.  Only then one can produce one artistic snapshot after another.  Actively seeing also helps extract a snapshot from a whole environment.  An established connection, from my personal experience, triggers an emotion which prompts me to want to eternalize a moment.  Sometimes I am lucky that I have my camera with me when that occurs. 

One branch of photography is the Contemplative Photography which is all about seeing and snap the shot as your mind compose it.

After seeing an exhibit on H. Cartier-Besson's work, I read his book.  I was surprise to find out that his approach was quite similar.



Comment by Robert Davis on January 9, 2013 at 8:37am
Jack, thank you for your succinct and well thoughtout comment. You made some very valid and important points. So let me ask you this, "How can I stress or relate the importance of seeing and practicing to my students?"
Comment by Jack Harwick on January 8, 2013 at 10:24pm

While I'm painfully aware of my many short comings as a photographer, I'm equally aware of my strengths.After sixty years of practice I can spot a good shot, raise my camera and compose a good photo in a fraction of a second. It has become instinct. Any observer would say that he just took a snapshot. Just as an expert marksman can shoot a bulls eye with little apparent effort, it isn't the time involved it IS the training. The brain can process a great deal of information very quickly, so it is possible consider all the pertinent information in an instant. You and  I have been on shoots where people spent many minutes setting up on a tripod and fiddling with there camera, only to get crap . Experienced photographers make it look easy, which it is AFTER you spend thousands of hours practicing.

Comment by Robert Davis on January 5, 2013 at 8:38am
Thank you all for your wonderful and engaging comments.

The dilema I'm faced with, especially with my students, is how to stress the importance of;
*knowing your subject
*watching the light
*studying the composition
*seeking out the best place to position the camera
*selecting the correct camera "Mode"
*applying the correct F-stop and Shutter speed for the subject
*and smiling as you make the exposure.
My thought here is if a person did these things everytime they pick up their camera to make an exposure, the "Snapshot" would quite soon become non-existent and the "Photograph" would become prevalent. Yes I agree, there are those times when the moment offers a split-second opportunity to make the "Grab-shot", but if one was practicing (on a continuous basis) the above, their "Grab-shot" will have been done with expertise thereby producing a photograph.
What I have encountered in just about every environ, is that the average photographer (non-pro) will take 300 images and have in the mix maybe ten images worthy of printing and possibly only two of those worth framing.

Now I ask this same question but in a different way, when looking at a snap-shot, what makes it a snap-shot? Is it the lack of technical know-how? Is it the lack of camera controls? Could it be the lack of knowledge of what makes a good image? Or is it the fact that we all have preconcieved concepts and engage ourselves when looking at an image looking through (excuse the term) rose colored glasses with blinders, or are we merely errant in assuming that the image is a snap-shot without actually studying the makers concept? Hence are we being true to our selves in the evaluation?
Comment by PRATAP MISRA on January 4, 2013 at 8:32pm

Photograph is the output of Snapshot and Well composed shot. When one have enough time to think do the experiment by changing the exposure(Aperture and Shutter speed) and framing(Composition) or otherwise there are moments where photographers have to leave everything on camera except clicking the shutter as CC described the subject was on the dock for less than a second called snapshot. Since low end cameras with only P or/and Auto mode is the most popular for buyers leaving only one option for the person to frame and snap, I think snapshot and snap shooter terms branded. I know some professionals also leave their camera on auto mode when there is no assignment  to tackle every wanted/unwanted situation in emergency.

But the Photograph is the ultimate result.

Until Midnight!

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