You Don’t Take Photos, You Make Photos
You are an image maker, not an image “taker”:
“You don’t take a photo, you make a photo.” – Ansel Adams
This is the tricky thing about photography; there are lots of parts involved:
- You see something you want to photograph
- You shoot it
- Later you select the photos you like
- You post-process the photos you like
- You publish the photos you like (printing on paper, digitally, etc).
Making a photo
Because photography involves so many steps and phases, the idea of “making” a photograph is more apt than “taking” a photograph.
For example, the art of post-processing your photos is very important. You determine the aesthetic of your photos.
If you shoot film, you dictate what type of film you shoot (35mm, medium format, large format), the type of film (Kodak, Fujifilm, JCH PAN, etc).
If you shoot digital, you can shoot JPEG or RAW. For JPEG, you choose which JPEG settings to use. For RAW, you have control what presets to use, or how to process your pictures.
And no, filters aren’t “cheating”.
Taking a photo
I think for clarity sake, let us say that “taking” a photo is synonymous with “shooting” a photo.
When you’re taking/shooting photos, this is when your composition, framing, perspective, and timing is essential.
Making a photo
I see “making” a photograph as post processing your photos. For monochrome, I get a lot of joy from processing my pictures, to make the whites and blacks look the way I want them to.
Generally for color photography, processing colors digitally is a major pain for me. I prefer shooting JPEG color, or just shooting color film (Kodak Portra 400).
Or if you shoot on a phone, I really like the VSCO A6 preset for color.
You’re a visual artist
I honestly find the whole classification of “photography” tiring.
Let’s just call ourselves visual artists.
Better yet, just call yourself an artist.
As an artist, you have freedom to do whatever you want. The camera is only your art-creation tool.
And now that photography is becoming more digital, a huge part of your artistry is your laptop, phone, tablet, or whatever you use to edit (select) process your photos.
Photography is a full-stack process. Master it all!