This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Why there are so many bad photographs on Google+

Google+ is awash with bad photographs. Most of the photographs range from bad to really, really, bad. That is not to say that the photographers themselves are bad, many are quite good. The photographs are bad. Please let me explain.

A photographer is someone who understands how to use a camera. They know about lenses, F-stops, exposures, that sort of thing. Whether self-taught or having a degree in Photography, they know about photography. They know about depth of field, focus, shutter speeds. They know stuff I know nothing about, and I never will. I have the greatest of respect for photographers and have worked with many of the finest here in Phoenix, Arizona.

But knowing photography is different from knowing how to compose a good photograph. Although many photographers know about composition, framing, etc., it's not really what photography is about. That is Art Direction, which comes under the category of Graphic Design.

An Art Director can be compared to a director of a movie. They decide what's in the frame, what the composition is, what is in the background. Actually, many movies have an Art Director in addition to a Director. They are "behind the scenes" people who usually have very little technical skill, but good grounding in composition and art. You wouldn't hand a complex movie camera to them, but occasionally they look through the lens.

It's conceivable that a movie could be made without a director. It would be asking a lot of the camera operator to do that, but it is technically possible. And when a photographer steps into the role of Art Director, as many amateurs do, it is only the exceptional ones who have both the technical ability to take the photograph and the artistic ability to compose it.

Many of my students in my Graphic Design classes were photographers who had figured out that there was more to making a good photograph than learning how to operate a camera, or knowing Photoshop. They had to learn all of the same stuff that I did in college, study the great masters, learn composition. They were genuinely puzzled as to why working with an Art Director made such a big difference to their photographs, but they were determined to find out why.

I hope this helps.