Types of Photography

NB. I will be teaching this topic in more depth at Japan Camera in Victoria. Please call them at 250-382-4435 to register.

As I was wandering around Goldstream Park this morning, I was thinking of my approach to photography, People take photos for a large number or reasons, and I have talked about this before. I think there are three “genres” of hobbyist photography[1], especially landscape photography.

The first genre is making an image. This is the type of photo just taken to record the fact that something exists. A tourist may take an image of the Eiffel Tower to show that they were there.

The second genre is making a good image. Here the photographer takes more care in the technical aspects. They may also spend some effort with composition, lighting, and even point of view. The object here is to create an image that others will find appealing.

I call the third genre making a creative image. This is where the photographer tries to make a unique image that has not been taken before. For example, in the Eiffel Tower example above, the creative photographer may turn around and shoot people taking photos of the tower (example)

Using one of the most photographed places, the Eiffel Tower as an example is difficult because the huge majority of photos fall into one of the first two categories. It is very hard to get something original on such an over photographed landmark.

My point of all this is to really look at what you are photographing. Are you taking a photo because that is a cool looking object, or are you trying to say something unique about the object? If possible go back to a spot and take a new photo of the same scene. While you are at a scene, photograph it from several angles. Walk around, look up, down and behind you. Take lots of (different) photos of the scene. Push yourself to get something just a bit different. Don’t be satisfied with the first shot. With practice you will mentally preview various approaches and reject the less successful without having to actually take the photo, but one big advantage of digital photography is the ability to take many shots inexpensively and review them on your camera before you move to the next possibility…

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Since this is a creative photography blog, I am only including photography taken for enjoyment, rather than, say, scientific photography. A scientific photograph may be beautiful, but its primary purpose{{2}} is to record something for easier subsequent study
  2. This is a very grey and nebulous concept, but, for example a botanical study of a specific flower is taken so that the flower can be studied in detail and the details are preserved for future discussion. And abstract image of the same flower may not even show much of the structure that would be of interest to a botanist. The “primary purpose” of the abstract is to evoke an emotion
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