When you press the shutter is just as important.
Originally Posted by cliveh
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
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.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Originally Posted by cliveh
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.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
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.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.