The image making process

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Yangon. Ricoh GR1v, Delta 100.

Not to be confused with the previous article on workflow, or what makes an outstanding image, this essay is a collection of more detailed thoughts on what goes on outside the technical portion of photography, and in a way, how the creative evolution of a photographer affects this chain. Understanding how this works can help us to make stronger images that have a bigger impact on their target audience – all the more so if we can push specific buttons of the intended viewers.

The typical process involved in producing an image for most people looks like this:

Trigger -> Capture -> Share/ View

The Trigger is the external or environmental factor that makes a person want to take a photograph in the first place. It’s composed of both a why, and a moment or scene; inevitably, the why is because there’s an event or location or object that is out of the ordinary for the photographer, and they therefore wish to preserve it for personal remembrance, or to share with other people of a similar background and persuasion. Next comes capture, which is usually little more than aim, and press – I’m not going to call it framing, because that implies some care with composition. Often it’s just a case of making sure the subject is inside the middle of the screen or viewfinder. Sharing/ viewing, the final portion, is where the image is seen by somebody other than the original captor. Most of the impact of the image is generated at this point: the greater the response it triggers in the viewer, the more likely it is to provoke thought and be remembered, and therefore the stronger the image.

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