Well… yes and no.
I used to think that’s all you do with a camera. Take a photo.
I’d go out and take a photo of this, take a photo of that, and take a photo of them.
And then I read something somewhere where a photographer mentioned how he made a photo. And I thought that sounded so weird. “I made this photo….” Because to me a photo always seemed like a capture of what’s already there. You take what’s in front of you and preserve it on your roll of film or your memory card.
And then I saw that wording again and again. And it still didn’t sound right at the beginning, but it started to make more and more sense after a while. And now I understand the difference between taking a photo and making a photo. And the difference between taking a photo and making a photo is also the difference between an average photographer and an amazing photographer.
Because you can set up a shoot, send 10 photographers in there, and they’ll all come out with different photographs. Some of them will be okay, some good, and some great. Some will take what’s in front of them and that’s it, and some will make it into their own scene and capture what they – and only they – see. And if they’re really that good, you’ll be mesmerized when you go through their photographs because you won’t believe that the photos you see in front of you were made during that shoot. Because you were there but you don’t remember it being like that. Because you don’t remember it being so. freaking. awesome.
And I’m not talking about tricks and illusions. It’s not photoshop and it’s not acting. A great photographer will make a photograph and convey so much through it. A great photographer will see something no one else does and capture what no one else can capture. Sink into the ground or reach above everyone’s head to get the shot. Show a different side of the scene that’s in front – the same scene every one else is photographing. Make a photo different from any other photo taken that day.
It’s a very different thing to take a photo and to make a photo.