Do you hate it when people say “cheese”?

Continuing on my journey towards total photo snobbery, I’ve come to realize that my friends and family and I have different ideas about what makes a “good” photo. I’ve actually gotten exasperated requests at Christmas to “just send regular pictures.”

I prefer a documentary style approach to photographing my family and friends. I prefer more reality in my photos, capturing people doing stuff besides posing, looking natural and relaxed. But many people prefer smiling mug shots. I don’t go all prima donna and refuse to take requests. No, I just bury my pain deep inside of me where it can fester and create raging internal conflict and turmoil useful for artistic endeavors, smile, and say, “Say cheese!”

They like but I prefer

They like but I prefer

They like but I prefer

They like but I prefer

I give them both. Once in a while, they like my version better.

By John Watson

John Watson is the original founder of Photodoto. If you're interested in what John has been up to, you can browse his personal blog.


  1. I am not a fan of posed photos, in fact I will go as far as saying I hate them.

    An impromptu photo is much nicer, it captures the mood, the moment and is natural. However, I can see how it can be difficult getting such a shot. Most digital cameras today have a lag between when you click to when the shutter actually closes. Then there is also the fact that you have to wait for such pictures, a virtue that separates armatures from the one’s willing to learn more and take better pictures.

    Like Alli said, the first goes inside cards, the second ones are the frame-n-hang pictures.

  2. I agree. Taking “mugshots” are the main reason why I hate photographing people and hate being “chosen” as the family event photographer. The “mugshots” just look like snapshots that anyone with a camera can take.

  3. but don’t they understand how much cooler your pictures are? isn’t it obvious? =]

    i know just what you mean, john…we go through the same thing, the exact same thing.

  4. Just my $.02: Photographs are usually intended to evoke emotion. Everyone reacts differently. Some treasure simple snapshots with horrid, unflattering on-camera flash while others can see the beauty in and truly appreciate natural-light candids, even if they don’t understand the technical details that make it special. It is the memory that a photograph serves to rekindle that makes it appreciated. As photographers, we do not create, we simply capture. It is up to the viewer to glean from it what they will.

  5. A little late to this party, but my $.02.

    I’m with you on 1, 2 and 4. But #3 (the shoulder)??? Seriously? What emotion could that invoke? Besides “I’m so embarrassed that I pressed the shutter by accident!”…


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