• Steve Gemmell

A Photographer’s Reality


“A photographer’s reality is what he or she wants to show.”

A relatively inexperienced photographer or someone taking a simple snapshot will often arrange the image so that whatever they are photographing is dead centre in the viewfinder or screen. More experienced image-makers will instinctively compose their image to create whatever “feel” they want their image to convey.

There are many different ways to achieve what you imagine

There are so many different photographic techniques that can be used to get across to the viewer what you want them to feel when they look at the image you have created. Nobody is an expert in all of these different techniques although there will always be individuals who claim to be. I have found that in photography you never stop learning. As long as you have an open mind and continually strive to improve your knowledge you will be surprised at what you can achieve. There will always be people who tell you that you have to handle a certain subject in a particular way, but that is just their opinion and often the most inspiring photographs happen when a perceived “rule” is broken.

Everyone “sees” differently

A relatively inexperienced photographer or someone taking a simple snapshot will often arrange the image so that whatever they are photographing is dead central in the viewfinder or screen. More experienced image-makers will instinctively compose their image to create whatever “feel” they want their image to convey. When taking an image there are so many different variables that will affect the result once the camera shutter is released. As an example, even a slight movement by the photographer to the left or right up or down can make a drastic difference to what the viewer will see in the resulting image. The key point here is that regardless of what we learn in photographic technique, we all have an instinctive way of seeing and interpreting a subject. This unique difference is what will contribute to an individual’s own personal style and visual language.


There is a common visual language


Because of the rules and techniques that have been created during the history of photography a common visual language has evolved over time. This is particularly true in the world of the moving image where techniques are used frequently to help convey a story in a way that has been accepted and learnt by the audience as a legitimate method of communicating a particular meaning.

An example could be a shot in which the subject is filmed directly from below and the camera tilts up at the action or character, to make the subject appear larger than life, more formidable, taller and more menacing. Conversely, a shot in which the subject or scene is filmed from above and the camera points down on the action, often to make the subject(s) small, weak and vulnerable. The same two techniques can, of course, be used in still image-making and some photographers will often use ideas that they may have first seen in the movies.


You will develop your own style


The list is endless and can be as wide or narrow in focus as you wish. However, The more concentrated the genre the quicker your own particular style will become apparent to you and others.eds if not thousands of images before your own particular style begins to emerge. It helps if you concentrate on a particular genre of photography e.g you may like photographing people or perhaps you like taking landscapes or architectural photography. The genre could be even narrower still, maybe you want to concentrate on a candid style of people photography or limit your landscape work to seascapes.


The list is endless and can be as wide or narrow in focus as you wish. However The more concentrated the genre the quicker your own particular style will become apparent to you and others.

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©2019 by Steve Gemmell.

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