More often than not we take snapshots of our adventures and day to day activities. And for most things that is perfectly fine but a “Great Shot” is something that takes a little more time and thought!
A snapshot is defined as a photograph taken without any preparation. You pick up your camera or your phone and just snap away. It doesn’t require skill or talent. Most often snapshots are taken to prove that something happened at a specific time. These snapshots will have meaning to you but will most likely not have any meaning to your neighbor.
Think about the last time you went through an old family album. Most of the pictures are probably snapshots someone had picked up a camera and just started clicking. They were documenting the event without really putting much thought into the pictures. We have albums and albums full of these pictures!
A “Great Shot” is one that is taken with artistic intention. Time and thought is taken into consideration when composing the picture. This can not be done if you still have your camera on Auto.
Moving Away from Snapshots and Taking Great Shots
- The first thing you need to do is ask yourself why. Why do you want to take this picture based on that decision you can determine the best way to set up the shot. For example, if I am taking a picture of my daughter riding her bike what do I want to remember her from that event is it how her how much doesn’t quite fit right or is it how her feet touch the pedals for just how she looks on that on a big girl bike. Based on my way I can start to think about does my picture need to be done do I want it to be planned out to get the full scene I can also start thinking about and looking at where the light is and how the light will affect the mood of my picture.
- The next thing that you can do is turn on the framing grid on your camera or if you’re using your iPhone you can also turn it on on your iPhone this will help you think more about the proposition of the image it is. The framing grid is directly correlated to the rule of thirds. When thinking about the rule of thirds and using the grid do you want the focal point of your picture to be at one of those crosses on the grid. This is where your eye tends to look first when you’re looking at an image. Turning the grid on will make you pay more attention to the rule of thirds and where you should place your focus.
- Changing your Aperture is another great way to move your photos from snapshot to a great shot. When planning your shot in your head think about how much you want in focus and choose your aperture based on that. Our house is normally covered in toys so I tend to shot wide open to blur the clutter as to not distract from the focus of the image.
- Kids and pets are the most common subject of a picture. Your image will be more interesting if you get down on the same level as your subject. And an interesting photo gets noticed and talked about. Photographing my kids has me kneeling down all the time. To the point that the left knee in my jeans wears out long before the right.
- Focal length is another great way to eliminate things in the background and draw your viewer’s eye to the subject. I switch between my 50mm lens and my 85mm lens all the time to get the shot I picture in my head.
Snapshots aren’t always bad. They have there place for example I take pictures of receipts so I don’t have to keep the paper copies or when I am at a store and need to ask Jamie or Mechelle which one I should get I will take a quick snapshot to send to them. Or I will take a quick snapshot of something I might need to remember to buy.
That being said you should NOT take a snapshot when someone stops you to ask you to take a picture of them or their family. You never know when that simple request could turn into a client. So take the extra 2-3 to think about the shot. What would make it a great shot? I also suggest taking the picture from 2 angles maybe one zoomed out to get the whole scene and another zoomed in to just get the subjects.