When you decide to make a photograph, who are you making the photograph for? Are you making it for yourself, a client, posterity, or perhaps, you’re making it to impress the folks at the camera club? Whoever you are shooting “for,” make sure you understand that THEY are your AUDIENCE. They (in this case, even if it’s YOU) are looking for something in your images. Whether or not they find it will often have as much to do with whether or not you understand who THEY are, as anything else.
Remember that the audience decides everything. THEY decide what the photo is all about. THEY decide whether or not THEY like it. THEY decide whether or not it’s memorable, valuable, worthwhile, moving, etc.
Now maybe what THEY decide isn’t right, fair or even close to the mark in your opinion. But in any event THEY still decide.
I often think one of the most basic rules of the world of media is ignored in photography. Audience is everything. If you don’t understand their beliefs, feelings and desires (BFD) then you’ll have trouble connecting with them.
So the next time you get ready to press the shutter, ask yourself…”Why am I making this photograph and who’s the audience for it?” That simple act could help you transition from snapshooter to picture maker in less than a second.
P.S. In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to make images that are designed simply to please other photographers. With the advent of the Internet and various critique forums, this has become rampant. The problem with shooting for other shooters is simple. They have a twisted view of what a photograph should be about. And they aren’t a good market if you’re trying to sell your images, so why would you try to impress them anyway? Just my two cents.