Things which don't Look Good in Photographs
Photographs can often be disappointing (if not then you are either very
careful in taking photographs or very low in your standards when judging them
afterwards!). Often it is simply because the scenes which look good at the time
don't look good in photographs. Some common examples to watch out for:
- Fun parties: It was the activity, not the static image,
that was fun.
- Forewarned people: Even when trying to help, most people
pose unnaturally (rigid pose, staring at the camera & smiling inanely).
- Portraits taken with less than an 80 mm lens: The heads
are either too small from being too far away or too distorted (the big nose
effect) from being too close.
- Rear views of fleeing animals: If you have missed the
animal, don't waste film pressing the shutter button.
- Things with dramatic variations in brightness unless you want a
silhouette: Either some bits will go black or other bits will go
- Panoramas of flat landscape with clear sky: Even with a
panoramic print they consist half of featureless sky & half of almost
- Dramatic views from high points with no interesting
scenery: Either one points the camera down and loses the high effect
or points it horizontally and get a picture of sky.
- Grand large things with no foreground for scale: They will
look just like little models.
- Distant action: The human mind will concentrate on the
action small in the distance not the uninteresting foreground & surrounds.
The camera will not.
- Cool streams: It was largely the motion, noise, humidity
& temperature which were important.
- Tourist views: Buy a postcard instead!
- Things which require tedious explanations: By the time you
have explained the reason to be interested ("The dust on this pebble was
recovered from ... that ... in the ... described by ... reign of
Arkenaten.") the audience will be fed up with the picture (and with you).
- Friends & relations posing in front of famous sites:
Fine as evidence of having travelled there but don't bore other people by
insisting on showing them loads of these after a holiday.
Don't be too depressed. Those pictures can still be kept privately as
reference material and the lost photographic opportunities are made up for by
the many ugly, trivial & mundane scenes which can make good
photographs if they are taken in an interesting way. That's where the artistry