A couple months ago I took a photography course at my local community college. During one of the lectures the topic of taking photos versus snapshots was discussed. Ever since then I have been creatively disturbed and can"t come up with/ or have a difficult time coming up with ideas for my photos. I find myself hesitating to take photos of sunsets and widely photographed landmarks or similar subject matter, because I feel like its too cliche or something like that. I can"t figure out how to get past that...I was hoping you guys had some ideas or experience with this issue. What makes a picture a photo and not a snap shot?
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A couple months ago I took a photography course at my local community college. During one of the lectures the topic of taking photos versus snapshots was discussed. Ever since then I have been creatively disturbed and can"t come up with/ or have a difficult time coming up with ideas for my photos.I find myself hesitating to take photos of sunsets and widely photographed landmarks or similar subject matter, because I feel like its too cliche or something like that. I can"t figure out how to get past that...I was hoping you guys had some ideas or experience with this issue. What makes a picture a photo and not a snap shot?
Forget about cliche or what"s been done. Go out, look at the world and ask yourself is this a moment I"d like to remember? Is this a moment I think others would like to witness? If so, then you"ve got a good photograph.The difference between a snapshot and a good photograph is usually a matter of composition, nothing more.

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First, forget about lectures and concepts. Shoot something. Channel your inner Elmer Fudd and get yourself out there to shoot something pronto. You make lousy photos 100% of the time when you"re letting what you been told overcome what you know. Be true to you and get the shot and let the "experts" remain experts who give lectures rather than something like making photos. (Folks forget that. If the lecturer was the best of the best of the best in photography, why isn"t he on location in Borneo or something? Why"s he giving lectures to supplement his income? Just a thought.) To me, a snapshot is when you"re not thinking about anything but documentation. Little Ralphie just ate a green crayon, shoot it now. The look on his face says he"ll never do it again, so you need to get it captured. A photograph is when you see a tree or a pair of trees with a sunset behind them and decide to move four feet to your left and back one step so one tree is on each side of the shot to frame it. Or when you position the bridge of little Ralphie"s nose on the left upper third line because he"s got half the crayon in his left hand which is then more toward the middle of the frame. Focus on the bridge of his nose and recompose. In my mind, if I"m thinking composition and aesthetic rules, it"s a photograph. If I just want to get it on "film" or get a view of it for later viewing, that"s a snap.
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480sparkyChief Free Electron Relocator
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You saw something, you raised the camera to your eye, you zoomed in and out until the subject filled the viewfinder, and you pressed the shutter button. You then chimp the image on the monitor to make sure you "got it".That is a snapshot............ merely a visual record and proof you were there. You saw something interesting. You study it. You make choices as to shutter speed, aperture, focus point, white balance, focal length, ISO etc. You move around, looking for angles, studying backgrounds, the play of light. You make conscious decisions based on your interpretation of the subject matter before you. How did you want it to be recorded? What is your "vision" of the subject? What do you want the final image to say to the viewer? Is your choices appropriate for that "vision" of the subject? Is the light "right" now, or will it be better to wait until it changes?That is not only a photo, but art.

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IMHO, if you simply just catch what"s there then it"s a snap shot. If you see what"s there but show the viewer your own unique interpretation of what"s there (lighting, mood, angle, framing composition, colors, etc) then you"ve created something special. Typically the lighting, framing, composition, and angle are the easiest to separate between a snap shot and a photograph. You can tell if a person has put in a lot of thoughts when taking this photo.