Lo-fi and Snapshot Photography Techniques

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CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

Lo-fi photography sounds like a misnomer with today's advances and equipment that is readily available to almost anyone. Not to mention the advances in photo editing software programs. This technique can be attributed as a negative reaction to the ease of photographing and the producing of technically perfect images by even the most amateurish of photographers.

When in the past to become a good photographer one had to venture into schools and colleges, have several years of practice, much knowledge and understanding of photography technique, today the equipment and software programs take much of the work, and perhaps the fun out of photography.

In the past, photographers had to have a clear grasp of depth of field, shutter speeds, great knowledge about light and how it affects photography. They also had to have a good grasp of perspective as well as a general understanding of artistic methods and concepts. Now most of these barriers are breached through the use of digital photo editing software by a simple working understanding of a computer program.

This techniques uses low quality or low tech equipment such as toy and pin hole cameras for a more stylish effect. With this technique and equipment film is the preferred medium of image capture. The images produced with this format are not generally salable but some become part of art gallery displays or are used in photographic publications.

Another technique that can be also be termed as low quality is the snapshot style of photography. Snapshot is generally referred to as photographs that are taken spontaneously without any artistic intentions. They are mostly poorly composed because the shot is taken quickly at a moments notice in the presence of a subject or event worth photographing.

Imagine a famous movie star briskly walking by you at the mall, you quickly get your disposable film camera and just as quickly snap a shot before he or she walks away. This is a perfect example of the snapshot technique. The more professional snapshot practitioners have a knack for snapping good images even under these conditions. Like lo-fi photography, snapshot photographic images are not very salable but sometimes also find their way into art gallery collections and photography publications.

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CC BY 2.0 | Source

Popular themes for snapshot photography include everyday events such as parties, children at play, pets and get togethers. The growth in photo capable cellular phones has immensely increased this style of photography and the readily available digital cameras in the range of 2 to 3 mega-pixel have added to the growth and popularity of this technique. Professionals photographers who dwell into this type of photography use its shallow dept of field and other limitations to produce good quality and esthetically pleasing images.

The main promoter of this style was the Eastman Kodak Corporation which aimed the production of inexpensive disposable cameras towards the general public during the 1990's with catchy slogans such "A Kodak Moment".

© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez

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Comments 2 comments

Lynn S. Murphy 5 years ago

I think even with ALL the cool tools in the digi world you still need to learn the ins and outs of the elements of photography which is why I stalk ER follow your hubs. That being said, its still fun to experiment. Its also important sometimes to just get the shot even if it is a snapshot.


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Sustainable Sue 5 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

I'm just starting to learn how to use Photoshop. There are good, basic improvements possible with iPhoto, but I want to really start experimenting with my photos now. And my cameria seldom takes the really clear images I like. I'll be reading the rest of your photo articles, Luis. And you have a new follower. Thanks for following me, too.

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