First and foremost perhaps we may want to ask a few questions. Like, why is this important or who cares? I am in the moment, I got the shot, boom, there it is, and I was there. The concepts of composition, exposure, color balance, post-production (aka development) hey who the heck cares, not my concern, I got the pic and I am sharing it. I’m done.
Here’s a quote from a photography blog; ‘Generally people agree that a randomly snapped photograph, mostly captured via the “point and shoot” style without much thought would result in a commonly ordinary looking snapshots. On the other hand, a good photo usually would come from stronger technical execution and bold artistic projection.’
Here’s another quote on the distinction; “Snapshots are personal. They record a personal history and are very important for that reason, but only to people who know the people and places in the photos. Technical quality is less important than capturing the people and place in time. Digital point and shoots and smart phones are ideal for this purpose.
Good photos grab anyone’s attention without any personal or other history. They speak for themselves. Ideally they take an interesting subject and highlight what makes the subject interesting through selective focus, contrast, etc.”
Here are my thoughts. When I first became seriously interested in photography my research directed me to the concept of a photo vs a snapshot. When I first heard the definition (as you can also observe via the aforementioned quotes) I thought it was rather pretentious, a snapshot can be taken of anything the person sees at the moment they decide to take the shot. Usually a snapshot is a quick rough capture to document a scene or event. A photo on the other hand is a well thought, composed, exposed and executed capture of a scene or situation that may border art form. However, as I continue to stride to hone my skills I discovered how challenging it is to master photography. And I can honestly say now that the distinction appears to be accurate. As in many photography blogs, articles, and tutorials continue to relate:
the real question is not who is a photographer, but what is a photo and what is a snapshot.
So let me put this on the table; the next time you look at an image think to yourself, “Is this a photo or a snapshot?” Over time you might see the differentiation and it might just impact how you approach capturing a scene.
This is not to say that snapshots are not important or fun. I think to capture a scene at the time is great. You just don’t have the time to compose and or think about a shot every time. And so what if the color space is off, you get the idea. It is these instances in time that are important and should not be missed. Heck, I carry a smart phone, which I read somewhere, is perhaps the best point and shoot camera you can have, and I even have a small gorilla pod with a phone holder. I just can’t hold the phone steady all the time and I want a good pic. That’s just me. I think snapshots we take can be priceless at times. Heck, they could be ‘great accidents in photography’. Hmmmm, I’ve heard that somewhere too.