Allen Taylor Photography

Great Photographs!

I have been asked before how does one make a great photograph. I believe that there are basically 3 major factors that go into creating a special image. They are equipment, the photographer, and the processing of the captured image itself. Let’s look at these three influences in reverse order.

Processing: One of the things few people realize is that processing an image is almost as important as taking it. For example, Ansel Adams was a master printer. This is not an insult in any way. Before digital imaging became easily accessible, people would train their whole lives to become master printers in a professional film lab.  It was a respected career. Ansel Adams used to take numerous test strips, wash them, and then later in his career, throw them into the microwave to dry faster. Take a look at this clip from Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film.  You will get a glimpse into his creative process. Although the tools have changed for processing with digital imaging, the importance still holds true. If a photographer is just shooting jpeg format files straight out of the camera and not shooting raw format images, then its like they are processing their images at K-mart or any similar automatic place. No thought goes into it and they are trusting a machine to do the work. However, with raw files there is an opportunity to hand process the digital images like Ansel Adams did with his black & white negatives. Creating and capturing the vision that was intended to be captured initially by that same human photographer.

Equipment: Having good equipment can make a the process easier to carry out, there is no doubt. However, it won’t make the image for you. The photographer still has to decide how and what equipment to use and only a well trained photographer knows how to best use it. In other words; yes a non-photographer can “take” a better technical picture with a better camera, but they couldn’t “make” better photographs because of it. It’s that simple.  Nobody asks a painter what brushes he uses and they don’t consider  themselves a painter having completed a “paint by number” kit. No doubt the equipment can help, but if you don’t know what to do with it, you’re lost.

The Photographer:  They are the entity that makes everything happen and brings them all together. For a real photographer has the skills, vision, and experience to take a photograph with care, passion, and planning. They use the equipment well and to their purpose with no surprises (good or bad). Then finally, the often ignored step, process the image to give rise to the initial idea. This takes creativity and experience.

So if you want great photographs, make sure your photographer knows how to creatively make them. Look at their images and see if they have a vision or if they are simply paint by number.

Allen Taylor Photography

Serving Southern California & Beyond