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What makes a photo stand out?


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On the Sony Brand Ambassadors share their most meaningful photographs of the year, and we are looking for more meaningful images and photographers to feature! As we share these articles, we’re considering what makes a meaningful photograph? Is it a technical challenge? The personal story? Or some combination of the two? 

Reading through the articles, it’s great fun to see what drives them in their artwork. For example, Autumn Schrock shared this adorable photo which represents an incredible trip she took as well as her love of wildlife. While taking this photo, she was also able to relish in beautiful light and the new Sony 300mm lens. This experience was the perfect combination of artistic and personal experiences with technical elements. 


"I was lucky enough to visit Antarctica this November. This photo is from our first landing and my first time seeing penguins in the wild. I had the new Sony 300mm f/2.8 G Master lens with me to try out, and I was blown away by how small and compact it is with silky smooth bokeh. I couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop with these two nuggets to showcase the icy wonderland that is the Antarctic."

"It was so tough to choose just one photo! Going to Antarctica has been a long dream of mine, and I wasn't sure that it would ever come true. I still can't believe that I was able to go, and I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that this massive and remote continent is absolutely teeming with wildlife. As an animal lover, to be able to witness several different species thriving who are only found in this area was incredibly special. I also had no idea that Antarctica has the most stunning landscapes around every bend; jagged, towering peaks that rise straight out of the ocean, seemingly endless golden light in the spring/summer, and glaciers so colossal that my jaw never stopped dropping. It certainly was the experience of a lifetime." – Autumn Schrock 

Share a photo you took this year that is meaningful to you! And tell us the story behind the shot! 


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I believe that both technical skills and meaningful experiences contribute to the impact of a photo. One of my most significant photos of the year was taken on my birthday during a trip to Cape Breton Island. I had been wanting to visit for years, and my family planned a birthday getaway for me to pursue my passion for photography. On Halloween, we explored Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and I took advantage of the unpredictable weather that ranged from rain and snow to sun and even two rainbows. I set up my gear on a coastal beach to capture long-exposed sunset shots, and I was not disappointed. The sky had a small opening on the horizon, providing a perfect opportunity to capture the sun's rays splicing with the dramatic sky in the background. The sky illuminated several parts of the water and rocky coastline. I stood in the cold water as waves rolled in, full of adrenaline, working hard to stabilize my tripod against the crashing waves. I repeatedly wiped the neutral density filter to ensure no water droplets on the lens, timing the crashing of the waves for the long exposure shot I had envisioned for quite some time.

Could contain: Nature, Outdoors, Sky, Sunrise, Scenery, Horizon, Landscape, Beach, Sea, Sunset

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Hi together,

difficult question because it always depends on the viewer. 😀 So the answer is always subjective.

For example the picture of the two penguins is (for me) more emotional because of this special moment. The picture of the coastline is beautiful because of the landscape, the colors, the soft effect of the long exposure and some technical aspects like making the sunrays visible or the use of the ND filter. There are more technical aspects in the second shot but there is more of "catching the moment" in the picture of the penguins. 

What makes a photo outstanding? The right moment, the patience of the photgrapher, the technical knowledge and skills (e.g. in deep sky photography), knowing your subject (e. g. in wildlife), the emotion, the story .... there is so much. By the way – does a photograph has to tell a story? I don't think so. First of all it catches the moment, a certain situation. If there is a story visible - great job. If not – the photo can still be outstanding.

I've chosen a photograph I love a lot. It shows my daughter an our dog on holidays in Denmark. We took the dog three months before from a shelter and this vacation was the first we spent togehter. For me this photo shows a moment of beautiful bond and harmony between the two. (Shot on an A7r III and the 55 mm Zeiss)

Just some thoughts without a final conclusion. 🙂

Greetings from Germany


Could contain: Beach, Nature, Outdoors, Sea, Water, Silhouette, Sky, Person, Dog, Photography

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  • 2 weeks later...

The photos are amazing! 😍 I love seeing each photographer's style through their vision and effort. Regardless of what others might think, a photo is meaningful if its a meaningful to the photographer. If someone finds joy through your photos and work, its a nice bonus 🙂

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This post was recognized by alpha-jessica-a!

"Beautifully said!"

Josh Velasquez was awarded 10 points.

To me, the essence of a truly captivating photo lies not just in the image itself, but in the narrative it weaves and the journey it embodies. As an adventurer at heart, each photo I take is a testament to a story - a chronicle of the paths traversed and the hurdles overcome. It's about the composition, the effort, and the moments of truth that lead up to that final click.

Take the photos I've attached, for example. It's more than just a snapshot; it's a visual narrative of an arduous ascent to the mountain's summit. It represents the literal and metaphorical peaks we strive to reach. Behind this image lies a tale of perseverance, of choosing the road less traveled, and the risks we embrace to capture that perfect moment.

But the journey of capturing such images is about more than risk-taking; it's a process of self-discovery and growth. Every shot is a lesson learned, every frame a step forward in my journey as a photographer and as an individual. To me, photography is an odyssey in itself, where each image marks a milestone of personal and artistic evolution.

In essence, a standout photo is a confluence of the art and the adventure, the risks and the rewards, the scene and the unseen story behind it. It's these elements that imbue a photograph with life, transforming it from a mere picture into a powerful narrative.

Could contain: Machine, Wheel, Car, Transportation, Vehicle

Could contain: Nature, Outdoors, Sky, Scenery, Landscape, Mountain Range, Cloud, Weather, Peak, Cumulus

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