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Welcome to the real world! It’s not like photo class is it!

Why the attitude here?

The other day, Jay Dickman was saying:  “Photography is the new international language.  So we communicate with each other through photography.  And, what’s a photograph if we are talking about that?  A photograph is an image that speaks to a large audience on many levels, it is a lot of languages going to it, versus a snapshot with which we engage for just a few seconds.  It has been proven that your audience, whether you’re looking at National Geographic, if you’re looking at a blog, if you’re looking at Facebook, whatever, is going to give your image less than a half second of attention unless you create a powerful image that engages them, that pulls them into your world, that educates them, that gives them a narrative.”

Explaining most National Geographic photographers came from newspapers, he also said:  “As a photographer with a newspaper, you are responsible for three to five assignments every day; and you had to produce.  Your editors didn’t want to hear ‘I wasn’t in the mood, I wasn’t feeling creative’, you had to produce.”

I forget who, but a couple of others recently said “you can’t publish excuses.”  Well, obviously, on the Internet, where there are no editors, you can.  But, your audience does not receive them well.

It wasn’t mentioned because of the group he was addressing, but beyond what Mr. Dickman said, even if you have an engaging subject you have to have the technical competence to deliver a good looking image.  If there are two images with similarly compelling narratives, the one that is properly exposed, well lit, well composed, and has good focus will get most attention over another that is technically lacking.

Photography is an exercise in problem solving.  Pick up a copy of National Geographic or Sports Illustrated and look at the photography.  Or, look at the photos in a major daily newspaper.  Fashion magazines are entertainment, lots of the photos are heavily edited.  That kind of editing is not permitted in news photography where the photographer can even get in trouble for editing with the lens by selecting what to include and what to exclude, and use of all but the most basic tools for cropping, white balance, dodging and burning are expressly forbidden and those that are allowed should be used with great care and in minimal amounts.  Compare your photos to news photos and decide how professional you really are.