Below is a selection of articles that we hope you find helpful. Some are excerpts from the book and others are additions just for the website. Please feel free to contact us with any comments or suggestions.
Snap Shot vs. Photograph
Excerpt from Photography in Worship … the art and science of iconic imagery.
Snapshots are the pictures we take to remember a moment in time. A vacation or a birthday party. Christmas at Mom’s or your daughter’s graduation. There are an infinite number of reasons why someone might want to take a picture to remember a moment in time, and there are cameras made to do just that. We want these cameras to do the hard work for us. We never want to miss a shot because we were tinkering with something on the camera, trying to make it work. Point-and-shoot cameras take great snapshots. Even if you are the most amazing photographer on the planet, with all the latest and greatest camera gear, you will probably want one of these cameras in your pocket or purse so you can just point and shoot, and capture that moment forever.
So why am I differentiating between a snapshot and a photograph? I suppose what I am actually addressing here is the intent behind the image. Of course a photograph can do all the same things that a snapshot can do, but I tend to believe that a lot more thought and planning goes into a photograph. There is a sense of the desired image when composing and taking a photograph that really doesn’t exist in what I would call a snapshot. There is a sense of art in the photograph.
The difference between snapshots and photographs is why even pro shooters will often carry a small pocket camera with them to grab shots without having to put a lot of thought into what needs to happen with the camera. The truth is that many of the elements of composition will remain the same no matter what you are shooting with, and great photographers will get great shots with a disposable camera, if that is what they happen to be holding. The goal of a great point-and-shoot camera, and ultimately a great snapshot, is this: you want it in focus, you want it exposed correctly, and you don’t want to have to think about it. That is why they are called “point and shoot” cameras, after all.
When taking a photograph, on the other hand, photographers will tend to want a camera that does less of the thinking for them, giving them direct control over the parameters and tools of photography. They want to directly influence what the camera is doing. In reading this book, you will discover the incredible amount of control you have over your camera, and how a shot will ultimately turn out. The downside is that the less the camera does for you automatically, the more you will need to understand the science of what is taking place. You will need to understand how to manipulate your camera’s controls and settings.
Don’t let the word “science” scare you. The subtitle of this book is “The art and science of iconic imagery,” and the entire point is to show you that for every artistic demand a shot places on you as a photographer, there is a tool on your camera that will let you achieve it. These tools allow you to interact with your camera and control how it will respond to the scene laid out before you. In this book you will learn to craft your art through a command of these tools.
A Word on Style
Excerpt from Photography in Worship … the art and science of iconic imagery
All artists have a certain style that defines the work they create and how they create it. Their way of seeing the world and conveying it in their art for the rest of us to enjoy. We either appreciate an artist’s style or we don’t. So before we get into all the good stuff, let me address this elusive concept of style. People ask me how they can develop their style, and I have come to the conclusion that you shouldn’t worry about it. Here’s why: You already have a style, and it is developing as we speak.
That’s right: Just as you already have a personality, you already have a style all your own. Of course, your style will change as you mature, as your view of the world changes, and as you develop your craft, hone your skills, and gain further insight and knowledge of the art form you are embracing. We are all unique, and we all naturally make different statements in life. The same will be true of your art. Your style will be evident as long as you are not copying someone else’s style. Don’t try to be someone else.
Our personality develops from our experiences, our surroundings, and our interaction with life as we pass through it. From the relationships we choose to have and the people that influence us. It is who we are when we just “are.” Your style develops in much the same way. You don’t seek to develop your personality, and I don’t think you need to seek to develop your style, either. It just develops. You interact with the world through your personality, and your style is pretty much the same: It is how you interact with the world through your art.
I suppose the core of all of this is to be true to yourself. We are continually learning new things and finding new ways to employ that knowledge in our craft. We stretch ourselves and sometimes do things that may not feel natural. Just make sure that even when you’re on the edge, you are always being yourself. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by One whose works are wonderful in ways we can’t begin to imagine. Rest in the vision that He has for you, and your style will be obvious, unique, and magnificent.
The Continuing Myth of the Megapixel Myth
The megapixel count in new cameras keeps on rising and folks keep buying into the concept of more is better – which is actually true in this case. The whole crime of the “megapixel myth” is not that high-resolution is bad, but rather that it is not the most important spec to be considering when looking at a camera.
If you are doing lots of cropping or very large prints, you most certainly need all of that pixel real estate, but for most of us, an 8 or 10 megapixel camera will work great, especially when we are considering imagery for use in a worship service behind lyrics or scripture support. One of the main points I make in my book is that many of us will be much better served by a camera from a few years ago with a larger sensor and interchangeable lenses than the latest and greatest hi-rez print and shoot.
... art and science
The title of this book is “Photography in Worship... the art and science of iconic worship”, and the name was selected to draw attention to the fact that photography is made up of both these elements. Art and science.
The point that one begins to visualize an image may be in the instant prior to clicking the shutter standing in front of the subject matter, or it may take place days or months earlier in a concept or design need. I shared some thoughts in my article on Photographs and Snapshots, and this concept of intent was one of the defining characteristics when differentiating between the two. If you get a chance to look through the book, you will notice that in chapter 11, I go into a little bit of detail with each of the included shots of both the art and the science behind each image.
One of the reasons that I felt the need to write this book was that photographers often get hung up on the science, or the tools of photography, and don’t put a lot of thought into the intent behind the image itself. I have found that if one allows the vision to define the tool set, rather than the toolbox, the process becomes much simpler. It would be very similar to someone pouring all of their tools into the middle of the garage, and then trying to decide what it is they want to build with them. It makes much more sense to realize that if you are building a deck, you would go and grab your hammer and saw. That is not to say that the tools can’t be the driving inspiration of the image that you are trying to capture. Its just that even then, you should have some idea or vision for what the image is that you want to create.
Snap Shot vs. Photograph
A Word on Style
Art and Science
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