The Relationship Between Photographer And Subject

by William Lulow

When making photographs, the relationship between the photographer and his subject is of paramount importance. There must be some evidence that there is something going on there in order to create a really strong image. Otherwise, it’s just a recording of where the camera is at any given time, much like a surveillance camera simply recording what’s going on at a street corner. 

So, how is this “relationship” demonstrated in an image? In portraiture, it is shown by expressions, moods or interactions between people and their interaction with the photographer combined with an interesting lighting. The better the portraitist, the more expressive will be his images!

When it comes to making images of landscapes, say, relationships can be shown through point-of-view and good compositions that keep the viewer’s eye involved in the picture. 

If it’s a still life or product shot, it should be a new way of looking at an old, familiar object. It could be a particular way of lighting something. It could be an unusual camera angle or background. Or, it might contain a “surprise” element that is of special interest.













Whatever it is, it needs to show some thought on the photographer’s part. If you simply take a snapshot, that doesn’t qualify as a great image because there’s no real thought to it except to get everything you’re aiming at into the frame. 

When I talk about “all things photographic” on this website, I’m speaking about just that! How experiences that we have can all be expressed photographically. If you know what to look for, you can translate your feelings into images. But you also need to have the tools at your disposal and the knowledge of how to use them properly. This means you have to understand how light is used to make images and how the equipment you use can be brought to each photographic occasion to produce remarkable pictures. 

That’s the goal! Not just to act as a recording medium, but to say what you want about your subjects.