Snapshots, Precious Moments in Time

Typical snapshot subjects are everyday life events

Snapshots acquire memorable family moments with less than perfect images. The snap shot from hunting originated the term. Typical snapshot subjects are everyday life events, like birthday parties, children playing and celebrations; sunsets, pets, group photos and such.

Following the introduction of cheap, easy-to-use hand cameras around the end of the 19th century, a snapshot has progressively come to mean a photograph taken by an unsophisticated amateur, using a simple camera.

Family snapshot of Emmalin, illustrating how snapshots generally capture memorable moments with family in imperfect images.
Family snapshot of Grandma Gina and Baby Emmalin, illustrating
how snapshots generally capture memorable moments with family in imperfect images.
In this case a simple camera phone. The boka is courtesy of PhotoShop

Today, it is the intent of the photographer, rather than the exposure time, that best serves to define the snapshot. While the majority of snapshots are taken with comparatively brief exposures, some are not. Moreover, while the word also implies a degree of spontaneity, many snapshots are the result of considerable preparation and arrangement of the subject. The fundamental characteristic of the snapshot is that it is a ‘naive’ document, motivated solely by a personal desire to create a photographic record of a person, place, or event and with no artistic pretensions or commercial considerations. Since snapshots are taken by people with little or no technical knowledge of photography or the rules of composition—with often predictable and unfortunate results

Toward the last part of the 1800 hundred's, after inexpensive, simple-to-operate hand cameras were introduced the snapshot has gradually come to imply a photo shot by an artless amateur, photographing with a simple camera. In today's world, it has become the photographer's intent, and not the exposure method, that best defines a snapshot. Although the mainstream snapshots are shot with moderately short exposure times, some are not. However, the word additionally implies some degree of spontaneity, a great number of snapshots are the consequence of extensive preparation and composition of the subject. The underlying attribute of a snapshot is that it's an ‘unsophisticated’ document, solely motivated by a personal aspiration to capture a photographic memory of a place, person, or event and having no artistic posturing or commercial thoughts. Since snapshots are acquired by people with modest to no technical comprehension of photography or even compositional rules often predictable and disastrous outcomes

The concept of snapshots was brought to the general public on a huge scale by the Eastman Kodak company, which invented the box Brownie camera in the early 1900s. Kodak promoted use of the Brownie by families to capture instances of time and to acquire pictures without being apprehensive over producing perfect photos. Advertising by Kodak urged users to "celebrate the moments of your life" plus find a "Kodak moment."

This tradition of the "snapshot camera" is ongoing with low-cost digital point-and-shoot cameras that feature full automatic ISO, flash, shutter speed, focus, plus other features, making the acquisition of an excellent-quality image pretty easy. These cameras most often come pre-programmed to acquire a deep field depth and swift shutter speeds to put as much resulting picture in focus as doable. For experienced photographers, who have more ability to control the point of focus, using of shallow field depth often attain more pleasurable pictures by causing the subject to stand out by blurring the background.

updated article Oct 9, 2011

Snapshot Photography: Captured Moments

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