The Power of a Snapshots

Tonight, while working away in the home office, my wife came in looking for some of her art supplies. She ended up digging through a number of the boxes in the home office closet and came across a box full of snapshots of hers. The next 45 minutes was spent flipping through old photos, some only 5 years old while others were 30 years old or older.

This got me to thinking about what I point my camera at when I pull it out of the camera bag. There are remarkably few snapshots that I take.  Is because of my more serious attitude toward photography, that the photos I take should be more than just snapshots?  Yet, when I’m out photographing landscapes, cityscapes, or just doing a photowalk and I get into a flow, I’m just shooting without judging.  Not sure of what I’ll do with the photograph.  Isn’t that just what a snapshot is?  (See Andrew Ilachinski’s post about Experiential Flow of Photography for a similar discussion)  Or is it because I primarily shoot with my DSLR.  This is a serious camera for serious photography, you don’t take snapshots with a that.

Either way, there is power in the snapshot.  It reminds you of a time, a place, of friends or family.  It is something that us serious photographers may grow out of at our own risk.  The photos that we flipped through are more valuable in many ways than the last 1000 images of serious photography that I took.  When I look back at the photos that I regret having lost or not haven taken the most a lot of them are simple snapshots.  Like a large number of photos that I took during trips my wife and I took back when we were dating…all lost due to a hard drive crash.  Priceless snapshots.

I have to make an effort to take more snapshots.  Not that I’ll stop my serious photography or not want to upgrade to my more serious next DSLR.  But we all should remembe the power of snapshots as part of our daily photographic lifes.

3 thoughts

  1. Brilliant post, I think this escapes a lot of us, a lot of the time… I actually found myself saying to my good woman just the other day “You have a little camera, you take the snap shots” How stuffy does that sound! Going to make an extra effort to take snapshots, thanks.

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  2. I’m not at the “serious” stage yet. Still use my DSLR for snapshots. Trying to get the candid during the holiday parties is getting easier but still challenging with low-light. I refuse to ask people to hold still… but at 1/10-1/15 of a second many are recycled. II totally agree, friends & family in the photo make it 200% more memorable.

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  3. I am guilty of much of the same thing, especially on some of our vacations. I take my photo gear along and spend dedicated time creating photographs, then the camera gets put away. I rarely take it out to dinner, etc. While I don’t think it is necessary to capture any moment, I am sure I would have brought home some images I cherished just as much from the “serious photo sessions.”

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