Tyler’s Tips Episode 6: Good vs. Effective


Welcome to Tyler’s Tips. Today we’re going to be talking about the difference between a good photo and an effective photo. Okay, so what do I mean by a good photo versus an effective photo? So a good photo, once you’ve been doing photography for a little while, you’ll start to get the hang of things, and it’ll become pretty easy to make a photo that’s pretty good. But you’ll start to notice that it’s hard to make that jump to a great photo. And it’s hard to tell the difference even sometimes. It’s hard for us as photographers to even be able to parse that. But you’ll notice that certain photos that you take will get a really different response from people. And that’s because they’re effective. They’ve really clearly communicated whatever the idea or story is that you are trying to get across. And that’s what takes it up a notch.

So how do we dig in and really try to create that? And it all comes back to audience in my opinion. So in other words, if you’re takin photos of your family. Your kid’s doing something cute. All right, let’s take a photo. It can really help make that photo far better if you stop for a second and think about who’s going to want to see this and what are they looking for in the photo? Like what’s most important to them about it? And that may not always be the same thing that’s most important to you as a photographer when you’re lining it up. You know, you might be thinking about color, and light, a little bit more than what’s super important to your audience. And it can really influence things and help push things in the right direction. Sometimes it can have huge difference in how you even approach shooting the subject. Same subject, same context you can create radically different types of images.

So, I’ve got a couple of examples that I want to show you from a commercial shoot that I did a while back, that I think illustrated this idea pretty well. So the first image I want to show you is this shot, this bartender. So I was hired to do a photo shoot at this place. And this was an opportunistic shot. I was not hired to make this photo. I was hired by the contractor to take photos of the interior design and the materiality of the space.

But this guy, this bartender was setting up for his shift, and he was awesome, we chatted, and he was into photography. And so we decided to fool around a little bit and we made this photo, which is awesome. This one an award in a national magazine, it’s a good photo. Now had I delivered this to my client, I don’t think he would have paid my invoice. And he shouldn’t have. Because he didn’t hire me to take a photo of a bartender, being a cool hipster bartender guy. That’s not what the job was. He hired me to take photos of the architectural interior, and show what the materials looked like in the context of this beautiful bar.

So the photo that I did take for my client is this one. And this photo, my client was very happy with. It’s also a good photo. And it tells a very different story. Same bar, same bartender, shaking the same shaker. Radically different photo. Both good, and both effective for very different purposes. This is very effective for marketing for my client. And the other photo of the bartender, that one is very effective to show you what if feels like to be in that bartenders magic bubble that he creates. Probably a great photo if that bar wanted to use it for marketing.

So there you have it, good versus effective. I hope that that idea is helpful. And if you like that one, and you’d like to hear me talk about other ideas, please go ahead and put a comment below, or send me an email and I’ll try to work it into a future episode. All right thank you for your time. I look forward to the next one.