Three most important factors in producing a photographic image

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    What would you say are the three most important factors in producing a photographic image? For me they are composition, composition and composition.
     
  2. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    Well, if the composition is bad, and the photo isn't somewhat compelling, you're probably right. But you do need good exposure and focus as well because composition won't count if the picture is black.
     
  3. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    I'd say choice of subject is primary to composition, but after choice of subject, it is all composition for me.
     
  4. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    "But is it art or just compositional technical perfection?"

    You see, we all have our own biases. Whether we can bring ourselves to admit to them or not.

    Ken
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Depends on what you do with the image.

    If it is for display on the web: subject, composition, then practical considerations that affect the appearance of the image (focus, exposure, colour, resolution, etc.).

    If it is for display in a small print: much the same, with maybe a slight increase in the relative importance of the technical issues.

    If it is for display by digital projection: same as for the small print.

    If it is for display as an optically projected transparency then the technical requirements are integral to the result, as that mode of display emphasizes faults - it may be that bad technique is enough to outweigh good subjects and composition.

    If it is for display as a larger print then the technical requirements are integral to the photographic artifact, so the answer will depend entirely on the intention of the photographer - some will want a print that is like a transparent window to the scene, while others will want something where the qualities of the medium are most important, and themselves a source of beauty and wonder.
     
  6. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Well said, Matt.

    Ken
     
  7. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    the heart and the eye of the beholder (make that two eyes, if you must have three :smile:)

    i pass by hundreds of perfectly composed photographs every day without stopping for a split second--don't you?
     
  8. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    There aren't many factors in producing a photographic image. There are lots of them in producing a successful image, though.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    1) A working camera
    2) loaded with film
    3) and with you.

    Without these it does not matter how interesting the subjects is or how good the composition is.
     
  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    The question is a little akimbo.
    All photographs have merit in some way. It is a medium for recording a fragment or period of time and can mean many things to all people.

    For the artists amongst us:

    • Composition
    • Impact
    • Technical mastery.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    +1
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    When you press the shutter is just as important.

    I'd list the major variables the photographer is in control of in making a negative:

    Where you point the camera
    Where you focus
    When you press the shutter
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    To me, it's a subject worth photographing.
    Then there's a meaning photographer puts behind the image.
    Then composition and lighting.

    One could make a photograph of a very boring and meaningless subject with perfect composition. It's still a boring photograph.
    One could take a worthwhile subject and produce a perfect image but then if there's nothing to say, then it's just an image.
    When both of those elements exist, it has to be composed and lighted properly according to the photographer's vision.

    I think someone recently said, we all like to talk about taking great photograph but not spend enough time doing it. Maybe we should.
     
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  15. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    +1

    Jeff
     
  16. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    This question is a bit like asking what are the three most important parts of a car. Well there is the engine, and the wheels, and the transmission. But then the engine can't work without a gas tank, and a radiator of sorts, .... And so it goes, each part depends on another. It is the same in photography from the initial composition, to the exposure, ... to the final print. Really no one step is any more important than any other. For without a single step in the process you have nothing.
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    remembering to put something light sensitive in the camera.
    remembering how to count if it is a timed exposure
    being bored enough that you want to leave
     
  18. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I honestly don't know what's important. I know you make amazing compositions cliveh, it's important for sure. But if you can have three things, then there's room for light...

    And my gut tells me that there needs to be something going on behind the scenes. Like having ideas in mind of what you want to get... but being receptive enough to take what comes your way. I get longer lasting feeling from photographs where the idea met reality and I took it home.
     
  19. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    It isn't sufficient to say "composition". Anyone can study all the rules of composition and then go out and apply them, and make a bunch of textbook, perfectly composed, crap pictures. I would prefer to say the important things are seeing, creativity, and honesty. Aesthetics have to be in there somewhere. Note I'm referring here strictly to the image and the photographer's visualization, even before image capture with the camera. So I'm excluding any kind of technical skill and printing.
     
  20. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    Didn't Weston say-----"composition is the most important part of seeing", or something like that....

    The OP inquires about those things that are important about "producing" a photographic image, it seems to be inferred that he means a successful one too, then, perhaps not in any specific order, but what pass for me to be a successful photograph:

    1. Composition as it relates to the subject (this has to be there somewhere)
    2. always maintaining the impression or sense of light in the image
    3. the presentation of the gray scale in the photograph as I visualised it

    If I can get those three things to come together on the surface of the print, I'm pretty pleased with it, even if it is not too impressive to anyone else.
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    a truly spectacular composition, a stellar one, of a truly boring subject, is still a boring photograph,
    the composition doesn't help detract the viewer from the fact that the photograph is not good.
    there are millions of poorly composed good photographs, and millions more to be taken
    but the subject matter usually over-rides the poor composition.
    i don't think there is any one or 2 or three or ? things that are most important ... maybe just one
    "being there" mentally, spiritually and physically, unless you are ted serios, then you don't even have to be there.
     
  22. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I completely agree and in no particular order, but impact may be the most important in transporting the image to the level of "art" or "moving" the viewer.
     
  23. rbultman

    rbultman Subscriber

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    I got a book of Bresson photos (Silence within?) and was struck by how technically poor yet utterly compelling many of his portraits were. IMO composition and timing (temporal composition?) are key. On a separate note, the subject is often irrelevant for abstract work while for others technical excellence is of highest importance.

    -Rob
    Sent from my PI86100 using Board Express
     
  24. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Composition, form, texture, and light.
    I know, that makes four. There are four "most important" factors.:wink:

    I guess if you insist on three, you could lump form and composition together.
     
  25. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    Okay, I'll play...

    Pretty girls
    Nudity
    A generous dose of potassium nitrate... or Viagra, depending on the situation.
     
  26. mark

    mark Member

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    Vision, vision, vision