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  1. #1
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    How do you add PIZZAZ to your photos?

    So the other day I was preparing some photos to use in class (not photo related). Some coworkers were looking over my shoulder and said "Hmmm, those are nice" and "Your photos have a very calm quality to them". I've gotten several comments like that so it would seem in essence, that my photos appeal to people that are not at all interested in photography. I honestly have no idea whether that it is a Good Thing or not.

    Having people say "Oh, that would make a nice postcard" has actually gotten me down. I could be over-thinking things here, but to me "Hmmm those are nice" means = Indeed I've been going over photos I've taken in the past few months and I feel that many of them lack a certain oomph.

    So how does one go about adding zing to their photos? Move in closer? Farther away? Change focal lengths? Get down lower/higher?

    Any thoughts/insight in appreciated
    Those who know, shoot film

  2. #2
    Ian Leake's Avatar
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    Are you saying that you're considering changing your style because some people have said they like what you make?

  3. #3
    wclark5179's Avatar
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    I'm happy you have this thought. I constantly ask the same thing. It moves me to look at things, always wondering if I did this or that my pictures would tell a better story. I'll never get to the point where I can say, I've hit the best I can do target, because if that ever happens I will move the bar further up and work on getting better than the best.

    I did an engagement photo shoot yesterday evening. Client loves the photographs. I look to see how I can do better the next time.

    I find that's exciting.
    Bill Clark

  4. #4

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    Nothing wrong with questioning yourself to make better art. I haven't shot anything worthwhile with it yet, but I do find that shooting wider than "standard" forces you to think differently, so I sometimes go for a walk with a 28mm lens (on 35mm) instead of my usual 50mm or longer. Also, I find shooting a 6x6 camera and composing square images helps to "think different", if you're not doing that already (I'm assuming if you do, in fact, LoveTLRs that you shoot with them as well

    That said, if someone told me "That would make a nice postcard", I would be inclined to test that theory and make up a few - first, to see if it still looks good in that size/dimensions, and secondly to show to a gallery/retail owners in touristy locations to see if I could make a few bucks for more photography
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    For the last year or so I've become involved with the local photo club. There are quite a few good photographers there, even if not many users of film.

    There is a fair balance between how-to sessions, critiques from guest judges, and competitions.

    It is clear to me though that "Pizzaz" is given great weight there when photographs are considered. The shots that really jump out and grab you are almost inevitably the favourite ones.

    I don't tend to shoot for "Pizzaz". I prefer something that is both interesting, and likely to grow upon you over time. So for that reason, my most favourite work is unlikely to win top (or maybe any) prizes there.

    I have however found it useful to participate in the competitions, because it has given me the chance to try different things, with a different goal in mind. It is sort of a "stretching" exercise, and I am enjoying it.

    I also find it interesting that some of the photographers their whose work I find most interesting agree with me - the work they show there is work they like, but isn't necessarily the work they would put up on their own walls.

    So in my mind "Pizzaz" is just one characteristic which you may or may not want to include in your photographs.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Yo dawg, I can put Pizzaz in any of my shots! I order a couple from Domino's and throw 'em in there!
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  7. #7
    jmcd's Avatar
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    It's great that others have liked your photos so much that they have made a point of saying so—really, that is a very good thing.

    But it should not influence what you think of your photos.

  8. #8
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the replies - lots of interesting points and insight here

    Are you saying that you're considering changing your style because some people have said they like what you make?
    It sounds dumb, but yes. I'm not 100% satisfied with photos that are "nice"; I would rather have people think "WOW, that is fantastic". I spend a lot of time on Flickr (uploading & looking) - I've seen so many amazing photos (film, naturally) that I look up to. I can't help sometimes thinking "Why can't I take photos like that?" or "Why can't I see things like that?" Sometimes it's a great motivator, sometimes it's discouraging.

    But it should not influence what you think of your photos.
    Mmm, I wish I could convince myself of that sometimes.

    Incidentally, below I've attached two of the "Hmm, those are nice" photos I was talking about In class we were talking about our travels, and I noticed very quickly how my photos and those of my two co-workers were different. They had photos of themselves posing with people and at famous places. Mine are mostly panoramic vistas and places, but none of myself.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1.jpg   2.jpg  
    Those who know, shoot film

  9. #9
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    The things I try to observe before taking any photographs are:

    What is it? Why am I looking at it? Why put it into a photograph?
    AND: KEEP IT SIMPLE!

  10. #10
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    Nick,

    I have a lot of those kinds of pictures too. Mostly when I first lived in Japan and was discovering photography and slide film all at the same time, and having grand illusions of becoming a National Geographic photographer. When I went back to Canada and did a darkroom course at a local university, my teacher would often ask me -- What's this picture of? What's your focus? What are you trying to say? Of course, this was always in black and white, but he wanted to know for a few reasons -- one, so he knew how to help us make our darkroom prints better, but mostly because he wanted us to be able to justify why we were spending so much time working on a picture that may not have been that interesting to begin with. After that, when I took photos, I would often ask myself "what am I taking a picture of?" If I didn't know, or it took too long to answer I usually didn't take the picture (although of course, vistas and places are worthwhile photos to take, but they're not the only thing). I think, as a result, my photos have gotten better (at least too my eyes) -- not so many pretty postcard shots (although I still like and shoot those too), and perhaps more of a personal style. Interestingly enough, I used to get lots of "nice" comments on my pictures in the past, but not so much anymore (from family and friends) and for some strange reason that makes me feel better now too!

    I also think looking at other photographers' work you admire and asking yourself what it is that you like about their photographs may help in giving you a particular focus when you take photographs yourself (although whether that adds 'pizzaz' is up to you). Anyway, just some ideas.
    Last edited by mooseontheloose; 09-11-2010 at 07:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

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