Ramblings of an Amateur Photographer

Photography vs Snapshots

I like to take my camera out on "get lost" treks from time to time. We'll stop along the road and I'll hop out and take a few dozen photographs. One of the largest complaints my fiancee has is the fact that I don't share most of those photos. She's constantly wondering why? Why do I feel the need to process everything and not allow anyone to look at it, if it doesn't meet my self imposed satisfaction. I am not a perfectionist, by any means. Scott Kelby once told me that you only want to show your best work. You don't want to show 100 photos, have the first 20 be really good and the last 90 be "well, that one is ok too". I have taken that to heart. I look to succeed in this, if for no-one else, but myself. I want to look at a photo and be proud of the photo on it's own.

I think one key difference comes down to taking a photo versus making a photo. Anyone can take a photo, process it and make it come out alright. It's much more difficult, as I keep finding out, to make a photo. You have to understand light, color, balance, conditions, visual cues and leading lines (to name a few). It's hard work. Sure some folks make it look easy, but it's not. I am much more critical the further I travel down this rabbit hole of photography. I am ruthless with my own work.

Another key difference between the taking of snapshots and the making of photographs is the emotional investment. We take snapshots to capture a moment in time that is important to us. It holds a special feeling that the taker might only understand. Some of the photos I like the best hold a special emotional attachment. They may not be good photos, let alone great ones, but I can be blind to that. Making a good photo can trigger a heavy emotional response, but that's planned by the photographer and not because the viewer needs to understand the back story.

This is my niece Evelyn. It holds special emotional attachment to me. I don't, however, think it's an especially great photograph.

My fiancee, reminded me that sometimes the very worst that comes out of my camera is better than the best that comes out of hers. (ego boost) So how do we as photographers show only those closest to us those snapshots? Do we? Are we afraid that if we show off our "worst" work to those we love, they will think less of what we do? Will they like what they see when they "look behind the curtain"?


I'm no shrink, nor do I play one on TV, so I don't think I can answer those questions for anyone else but myself. I struggle with what I show and to whom. We must always remember, as photographers, why we are taking or making a photograph. Our loved ones will love us for who we are, even at our worst.