Is the way you view photos influencing your photography?

by David Gibbeson

Did you know that how you look at photographs could be influencing your photographic style? In-fact, it could change photography over time. I have never really thought about it until recently, when I had a conversation with another photographer about a photo that I posted on Instagram. Lots of people seem to like my photographic work but it does not set the social media world on fire. One of the things that I have not considered (until now), is how my photos are not composed with social media in mind.


A photo that I posted on Instagram

Here is the photo that I posted on Instagram. Drawn to the balance of the composition, and the subtle details, I want the light leaf with the water droplets to be a focal point, but the eye to wonder and take in more detail after. It is not one of my finest images, but I like to work with whatever catches my eye.


A scene in the wet rocks of doartmoor


Here is the original version before cropping. I like the balance of elements and the framing but felt it just did not work as well once I got home. I feel that the square crop balances the composition while keeping all the subtle details combined with the contrast of the wet rock works better.



Here is a crop like the one that the other photographer sent me along with their feedback. Part of what they said was: “I like the idea and what you spotted in those leaves but feel it all kind of gets lost with the distance to subject and focal length used”



The other photographer is a great photographer. Initially perplexed at the scale of difference in vision I then had an epiphany. The biggest difference is how we are viewing the photo. I envisage my work being in print, or displayed on my website. I also edit my work on large screens. My perception has guided how I interpret a scene, and how I compose my images. I like to have people look at my work, hopefully noticing the subtle details as well as the main focal point. My fellow photographer, like many people nowadays view and edit most of their photos on mobile devices. I am not sure if it is generational, but there is a change in how many people look at photos and art in general using different devices. I wonder if this is going to change people’s photography as time goes on.


Photography evolving is not a bad thing

Is the way photography is evolving with technology a bad thing? I do not think so. However, it has brought home to me that it is important to consider how people will view my work. It is also important to be aware of how the way you digest images can influence the work that you produce. Some photos transcend devices with differing screen sizes with little impact while others do not.


Being fully aware how my images will be seen

My friend’s work is great and exclusively on social media at the moment. Social media is an addition for me, not a focus. A lot of what I put into my work is not obvious to the casual viewer on social media because of screen size restrictions.

This has taught me to be more aware of the way my images will be displayed. Nowadays, thinking in print and website formats is not always enough. If I want my work to be appreciated fully, I must be aware of how my work will be seen and interpreted. This changes with the size that the image is viewed at. However, a photo needs to be good across mediums where possible. The Mona Lisa is an amazing painting, even if you cannot be close enough to appreciate the individual brush strokes.

I love to talk about photography. It is always great to share thoughts, see how others interpret scenes and what they think about their art. I believe that you can learn something new every day, even if it isn’t always something profound. There is no right or wrong in photography, it is subjective. That is after all, why it is an art. Do you take photographs with social media in mind?




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