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What is it about a photo that really gives it value?
The look? The smell? The feel? The captured moment? Do you remember? Do you know?
We have grown desensitized to photographs.
It is sad. It is sad, to think that once something that took day of perpetration on both ends and hours to capture is now instant. Is instant better? Is it worse? Depends on who you ask and what their uses are. Believe it or not, it used to be a lot of work for the photographer to prepare their equipment, haul it over, get a person, family, or other group ready for their photograph. They would all have to stay still for minutes, if not hours. (Depends how far back we want to look.) Even without getting into the deep history of photography it is amazing to think that much power is in your pocket, every day. The power to instantly take a photography of whatever and whomever you want, instantaneously. It used to be an expensive and difficult process is now relatively affordable and easy. The amazing aspect of technological advancement and yet it makes me and many photographers a bit sad.
We now expect instant, it is what we think is standard. We forget how much time and effort really goes into things for them to be, "instant." Photos are not appreciated anymore as much as they used to be, anyway. We used to pull out a photo from years, or decades ago and just sit there looking at it. We used to go to a museum and look at the same photo for minutes or hours, taking it in. Now, we scroll past, *tap* *tap*, and move on. This is a grim reality. We are now so desensitized to a captured moment in time. A CAPTURED MOMENT IN TIME, this is what a photography is. It is the way light was hitting and the way we looked at something in a specific instant in time. What a mind-blowing concept.
We snap a photo of our meals.
We snap a pretty flower.
We move on...
Why not actually appreciate a photograph what what it is, what it means, how it makes you feel. I now offer prints again, for just that reason. Having a tangible photography can change the whole meaning of what the true value of it is.
What if we didn't?
What if instead of moving on we actually relearned to appreciate a photo for what it means to us. What if we just think and look. Look and think. We cherish the moment captured. We stop taking photos of things that don't really mean much to us, just because we can. We don't show off every aspect of our lives to standers for likes. What if we took photos of things that mean something to us. What if we shared only what we see as special. No, not a highlight real but actually special, valuable, things that have a bit of a deeper meaning. This is the value of a photograph. A treasured moment in time shared or kept through time.
From a business and photographer perspective, lets talk about how to get a bit of meaning back to photos and put storytelling back into photos.
Capturing an Impactful Photo
Whether you want to hire a photographer or you want to do it yourself, you want to make your photos have real impact on someone more than 3 seconds.
- Well, 1st use a camera if at all possible. This is automatically put you in a different state of mind.
- If you use a photo camera because that is what you have, that is okay.
- Think about your composition, think what story it tells, what emotion it conveys, what feeling it gives you.
- Lighting makes all the difference, not flash, but thoughtful lighting. Use window light, side light, natural light. (It is automatically calming subconsciously)
- Think like a filmmaker. Get rid of distractions. Anything that doesn't add meaning to your photo, remove it.
- Pro Tip: If you can't seem to figure out your composition: shoot a black and white shot and you'll instantly notice what you can change.
- Pro Tip: Don't be shutter happy. Think about your image before ever touching the shutter. Unless you're shooting action, it is one shot at a time. (trust me.)
- Think like a film photographer. Your roll of 36 just cost $8, another $10 to develop, and who knows how much more to print each photo. Would you take 50??
- You save yourself a LOT of time processing photos if you take what you need.
- Having a purpose and thought behind each photo will drastically change how people see the photo, I promise.
Getting People to Notice Your Photos
Standing out among, hundreds, thousands, and, millions is daunting, to say the least. It is also quite achievable.
- Using the methods above to capture your photo usually already gets it to stand out, a lot.
- Edit your photos. Not over edit, not a filter, but classy edits, subject separation, color contrast, etc. This can make your photo pop. Use a professional, if you need.
- Don't post anything that has not has some thought or meaning put into it on your website or socials, this devalues the rest of your media, instantly.
- Use mixed media. With tablet and phone tech advancing this is a great easy way to stand out. Write or draw on your photos. This will make them pop.
- Pick a color pallet to represent your brand. Really think about the colors, why you chose them, and how they effect people.
- Colors within photos, whether they're apparent in life or color graded, can make a massive psychological difference.
- Placement matters. Composition of photo placement matters as much, if not more than composition of your actual photos.
- There is a lot to go into here but basically, let your photos breath, give them space between other assets on your websites.
- Having photos point to something on your website using leading lines is also a huge advantage.
- When in doubt, consult. Consult your coworker, your friend, your family, or better yet a professional.
- Print your photos! This is huge. Photographer, business, or average person. It is CRUCIAL to print photos, if you want people to truly appreciate and notice them.
Photographer looking to start printing work? Business looking to print their media?
Getting Help for Your Photos
Sometimes, we need help. That is okay. I promise, no one will think less of you for getting help with your media. Not everyone is a photographer, not everyone is a designer, and the more we pretend everyone is because they have a camera phone in their pocket the more we get lousy media.
Hire a photographer to take your photos. This is so undervalued. Speaking as a photographer and person who is friends with some talented photographers, I have seen so many of the photographer community brushed off because of the famous camera phone in someones pocket. Again, I will go to the example of giving a pro driver an economy car and give an average person a race car, it won't change the race much. Except, the average person might crash the race car, or not even know how to start it. Yes, I know. Point being, hiring a photographer is not hiring someone with a fancy camera that can click a button. It is hiring someone with years of experience and knowledge of how to make things look good, tell a story, and convey the feeling you want to your audience, whether you're a business or a individual "Instagram influencer." You can even hire someone to help you write your captions, sort your website, make it function the way you really need it to. You can get your business to the next level by stepping up your media game. It's proven. It works.