Column: Posed photos do not tell a good story

Molly Dotson, Assistant Photo Editor

As I was playing at the park with my daughter Wednesday, I noticed a mother, who was watching her children building sandcastles, take out her phone camera and aim it at her subjects.

Right before snapping the photo, this young woman told her children to look up and say “cheese.”

Such a brief moment might go unnoticed by the layman, but since I am a photojournalist, I feel inclined to nosily observe every time someone breaks out the camera.

I frequently witness amateurs create posed images, so this particular instance was nothing new to me.

When I am walking around with a bulky camera, I also often encounter people who ask me to take their picture, which is fine for the most part. However, these same people typically strike a pose directly following their request.

I refuse to publish any of those types of photos in the newspaper because there is a much better way to make memories everlasting with a camera.

The technique about which I am writing is an art form known as candid photography.

For those who are unaware, a candid photo is a picture captured without creating a posed appearance.

This kind of photography is most easily achieved when photo subjects are unaware of the photographer’s presence.

Photojournalists especially utilize candid photography because their goal is to tell a story with more pictures and less words.

A posed photo does not tell virtually anything about an actual occurrence except for the photo subject’s appearance.

Because this form of photography displays photo subjects the most naturally, it gives the audience more information, thus better explaining a story.

Using candid photography is also more effective because it illustrates the actions that inspired a photographer to capture a particular moment in the first place.

Additionally, naturalness in photography exhibitions more emotions. Indeed, smiles are nice. However, documenting other expressions sometimes better demonstrates the message a photographer is trying to convey.

This type of photography is also less intrusive. The aforementioned mother would not have had to interrupt her children’s playtime if she were to take a candid photo.

Candid images also provide more variety to a photo album. Think about it, compiling a bunch of pictures of people looking directly into the camera and smiling is repetitive and uninteresting.

Candid photography illustrates a photographer’s point because it is much more natural and less boring.

I hope next time you take out your camera, you think twice before telling your subjects to say “cheese.”

Molly Dotson is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].