Snapshot (photography)

Snapshot (photography)

A snapshot is popularly defined as a photograph that is "shot" spontaneously and quickly, most often without artistic or journalistic intent. Snapshots are commonly considered to be technically "imperfect" or amateurish--out of focus or poorly framed or composed. The term derives from the snap shot of hunting. Common snapshot subjects include the events of everyday life, such as birthday parties and other celebrations; sunsets; children playing; group photos; pets; and the like.

The snapshot concept was introduced to the public on a large scale by Eastman Kodak, which produced the Brownie box camera around 1900. Kodak encouraged families to use the Brownie to capture moments in time and to shoot photos without being concerned with producing perfect images. Kodak advertising urged consumers to "celebrate the moments of your life" and find a "Kodak moment."

The "snapshot camera" tradition continues with inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras that fully automate flash, ISO, focus, shutter speed, and other functions, making the shooting of a good-quality image simple. Such cameras are typically programed to achieve a deep depth of field and high shutter speed so that as much of the image is in focus as possible. For expert photographers, who are better able to control the focus point, the use of shallow depth of field often achieves more pleasing images by blurring the background and making the subject stand out.

See also: Snapshot aesthetic; Vernacular photography

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