WOW Photographs vs. HoHum Photographs
I had a recent discussion with some Fine Art America photographers about WOW photographs vs. HoHum photographs and if it made since only to upload your WOW photographs for sale to the public.
What’s a WOW photograph? Well, basically any photo that grabs peoples attention. Something that makes people stop and take a look in this modern world of image overload. A WOW photograph is captured and of a subject matter that is interesting and unique.
- HoHums are scenes that that have been shot a million times and don’t offer anything new.
- HoHums are shot in 12 noon with harsh over head light while WOWs are shot at sunset.
- WOWs look good as thumbnails and grab attention.
- WOWs are a unique way of looking at a iconic subject.
- HoHums are background noise, WOWs are the main event.
- HoHums say “look I saw this”, WOWs take you there.
- WOWs make you want to go somewhere and take the same shot. HoHums make you wonder why the photographer even brought the camera to their eye.
- WOWs are determined by the photographer and the buyers. Not all WOWs are landscapes. For someone looking for artwork for their diner, the gleam of bacon on a mouthwatering breakfast sandwich might be the WOW they are looking for.
- HoHums have been seen a million times. WOWs bring a different take on the subject.
- WOWs favor the well prepared photographer and the busy photographer always looking for the next WOW subject.
The group concluded that while HoHum photographs might sell once in a while, usually because there is no other competition yet in the category but WOW photographs will sell over and over.
This sunset shot of a lobster pound in Clinton, Connecticut is a good example of a WOW shot. A great detailed subject with lots of interest to people who live near the ocean and shot during a beautiful summer sunset. It has sold multiple times.
This steam train dream concept shot is a created WOW because of its uniqueness and well crafted drama. It has sold multiple times.
Even food photography can be taken to the WOW level with good composition, preparation and lighting. This shot of balsamic roasted onions has sold over and over as a stock photography image.
WOW photography takes advantage of composition, lighting and subject to create a since of drama and intrigue.
To Get to WOW You Need to Shoot a lot of HoHums
I shoot a lot of HoHums. Every photographer does. Even Ansel Adams, who shot all the time considered 12 images to be a good crop for a year.
But the HoHums typically either get trashed, sit on the hard drive or maybe become stock photographs. The WOWs are the images that grab ones attention from just a thumbnail in Abobe Lightroom. They are the ones that get the extra attention of post processing in Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and perhaps even OnOne Perfect Effects.
HoHums are practice. HoHum photographs are for learning what not to do. HoHums are experiments. HoHums get you comfortable with your equipment. HoHums are training. HoHums are neccessary so that when a WOW opportunity presents itself you are ready to capture a WOW.
Now the Catch 22 on online selling is that you need enough product in your store to attract buyers. Online selling deals with the concept of Long Tail retail and marketing – i.e. having a deep inventory of products to appeal to a diverse market.
If you only upload the 10 WOWs you’ve achieved so far, you won’t have enough inventory to attract anyone to your portfolio, so you have to upload some photographs that are to exactly going to knock the socks off anyone. But as long as they are not utter trash its ok. Keep the quality consistent even if the subject matter might not be earth shattering.
The problem newbies have is they haven’t shot enough to pick out the best. Probably they are not ready to sell to the public but they want to and thus start uploading utter crap that only turns off buyers. Better to wait until you have a few WOWs under your belt before leaping into the world of selling your work.
Just keep in mind that you are not offering your work in a vacuum. You are competing with all of the WOW photographer created by professional photographers. You have to bring your A game if you want to WOW buyers.