What makes an image?

A good question. Does it mean, what is in the image, who took it, what did they take the image with, how did they process the image or how did they ‘see’ the image?

My secret, ‘shhh’ is that i ‘see’ the image i want to create, only in my head. I think it stems from art college and being told to ‘see’ the image i wanted to either draw or paint. So this means i have to travel around the Wirral, where i live, trying to ‘find’ my image. Once it is ‘found’ i then set about recreating the image from my mind and i may do this by ‘bracketing’ my exposures and using photomatix to merge the images or waiting for the ‘right’ kind of weather conditions. There may be a bit of post production using photoshop, or not. I use a Nikon D3100, so i manually bracket the exposures, occasionally i may get a good image with my phone camera, they do go through photoshop as they are generally either over or under exposed.

I feel sometimes that unless you are a ‘name’ then it doesn’t matter how good your images are and its a kind of snobbery, if you haven’t had the exposure and your name isn’t known then no one will take a chance and say ‘ well hey, actually this image is pretty good!’ This is a shame as there are plenty of unknown’s out there waiting to make their ‘name,’ its such a slow process.

Here are two images of the same lighthouse, can you tell which is the bracketed image and which not?



I want to be able to recreate the image my eye see’s rather than just a flat replica of what is in front of me, so i have been experimenting with what makes an image and i have decided that i ‘like’ the end result of ‘bracketing’ exposure’s and combining the images. The images seem more alive, they have more depth, so for me, at the moment, what makes an image? is best answered as ‘being able to see the image, using exposure bracketing and then combining the images together with photomatix and a little bit of photoshop too.’  It’s a bit more complicated than just point and shoot but i think it is so worth my while. I just wish people would buy my work!

If you are interested in bracketing exposures and how it works, this is a great article.                       http://www.thephotoargus.com/101/how-to-use-bracketing-in-your-photography/

5 thoughts on “What makes an image?

  1. The tones in the first image look much more natural. Personally I don’t like the the main subject being to much in the middle. The colours in the second image look unnatural, to much contrast and to me just looks badly processed. The important thing is, as the creator, it only matters what you prefer. You will always find people will have their own opinion some will like your work some won’t. You should always produce work that inspires you. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean other people will buy it. I sell quite a bit of my work as well as publish books. I think the knack to selling your images is to create work that when someone looks at it they think, thats amazing, how did they get that shot, I wish mine looked like that. If they look at it and think thats nothing special if seen it before or I have taken images like that. They wont appreciate them or buy them.

    1. Well said Trevor! I am experimenting with different techniques and it is interesting what comes from it all. Yes it is important to ‘like’ your own work but equally it is important to find out what will sell and sometimes its those things you least expect.

    1. Thanks for the comment Andrew, yes it is something you need to watch as you can completely change your image if you make it too arty and i am trying to develop a style that is as natural as possible. Saying that, its fun to play! and sometimes the images can be really great.

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