A Photograph Means Nothing if It Doesn’t Incite Someone

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 90mm f2.8 VC sample images (1 of 19)ISO 4001-160 sec at f - 4.0

In a world where so many images are uploaded each and every day, the most important thing about a photo is your ability to capture an image that incites some sort of emotion or response out of someone. Why?

To be put very bluntly, the internet and many of the images uploaded are positively awful.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Xt10 review photos (20 of 27)ISO 8001-80 sec at f - 2.5

We’ve talked about specializing to survive as a photographer before, and in no manner is that more evident than when it comes to today’s world where loads and loads of images are captured and uploaded. But in order to make yours stand out, what you need to do is a couple of things.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Milvus review portrait extras (5 of 6)ISO 4001-500 sec at f - 2.2

First off, don’t take a photograph just for the sake of taking a photo and then posting it. Well, in all honestly, do whatever the heck you want–but who is going to care about it? Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and all of these platforms where you shares these images are so fleeting that you’ll have significantly less than 15 seconds of fame unless you find a way to make someone stare at your image. To do this, you’ll need to figure out motivating factors behind images.

Let’s figure this out:

  • Food: Hunger
  • Documentary/Street/Weddings: Beautiful, heart-wrenching, touching, shocking moments, laughter
  • Portraits: Awestruck, arousal, laughter, etc.
  • Sports: awestruck
  • Landscapes: awestruck, excitement

I’m stopping right there for a very good reason–these are the genres typically associated with capturing a moment rather than creating the moment. Capturing technically could be easier, but creating actually involves a photographer being the conductor of all that’s happening in the image. Those images are usually designed to get some sort of emotion out of its viewer–and when well executed succeeds in its purpose. Capturing moments, on the other hand, are literally about getting those split second slices of time. If you don’t get it, you miss it, and the image that you shoot may not arouse any sort of emotion from someone.

To become a better photographer, you need to find a way to make someone care about your work. You can surely go about doing this through networking, but if you want someone to organically care, then you need to find a way to get some sort of emotion out of them rather than the person just saying “Oh, that’s nice.”

How do you do this? Consider the moments very carefully before you capture them and even in the post-production process look for ways to make an image more appealing to the people you want to look at the image. With that said, consider the fact that you’re always creating images for other people. Even your personal projects may be meant to someway or another help you and the creative bodies of work that you want to produce.