The Difference Between Snapshots and Photos

As a teen, my father gave me a Konica Autoreflex T camera. I loved that 35 mm camera and thought, because it was a 35 mm single lens reflex, I would be a good photographer. Of course, it wasn’t so.

I never improved my shooting with that camera because I didn’t pay attention to what I was doing, and feedback came (in the form of pictures) a long time after I had taken them. By then, I had forgotten exactly what I did to get what I got!

With digital, it’s different. the camera can make a difference, but the biggest edge is being able to see you photos instantly – first on the camera’s display and later on the PC screen.

By the way, though I love my Canon, I think the lcd screen on the back is awful and pictures always look like they’re in soft focus.

When you’ve taken 10,000 photos (and I think I am approaching that number), you begin to understand how what you do translates into what the camera puts out. Unfortunately, the Canon is very different from my Fuji and I am having to relearn many techniques.

What has surprised me the most is how much can be improved after the fact. In my case, I use Photoshop and a variety of plugins and tools. I think, more than anything, Photoshop (or other tools which work just as well) can take a snapshot and make it into a photograph.

I am not above altering reality to get a better shot. Lighting levels get changed. Focus can be sharpened. Often parts of the photo that don’t belong can be retouched and removed.

Here’s an example. The first is a shot as it came from the camera. The second has been sharpened a bit, had some noise removed and had the levels of the darkest object (and only the darkest objects) brightened a tiny bit to add a little detail.

These are tiny images. The originals contain a whole lot more pixels, producing a lot more detail. Still, I think what I did makes a world of difference – but you can judge for yourself.

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