How to Compliment a Photographer
On occasion, you might want to compliment a photographer on a beautiful
photograph. Or you might want to encourage a budding photographer with
a compliment. Or you might just have to be nice.
What NOT To Say
The worst thing you can say is "What a beautiful picture, you must have
a really good camera".
The photographer might properly return the compliment in one of these
She might come to your home for a meal at which you work extremely hard
to make perfect. Afterward she says "What a delicious meal, you must
have a really good stove".
He might admire your latest painting and say "It's stunning. You must
have some fantastic brushes".
She might think the chisel with which you sculpted the new statue in
front of Town Hall must really be talented.
He might say he's going to buy a pencil and ruler just like the one you
used as architect on the new University Library.
You get the point. If you don't, just smile and walk away quietly.
What to Say
Compliment the photographer on the artistic elements of the image.
Anybody can shoot a snapshot (except my grandma, but that's another story).
That's why they're called snapshots. But a photograph requires consideration
of the composition and lighting, the perspective and position, the time of
day. A careful eye decides what gets included or excluded, the patterns and
colors to use, and dozens of other artistic elements. As with cooking,
painting, sculpture, and architecture, it is both an art and a skill.
Compliment the photographer on the work that went into the image. Most
really good images take a lot of preparation, thought, skill, and hard work.
There is location, hiking or hauling a load of equipment. There is lighting
(setting it up manually or waiting on nature). There is procurement and
planning. There is study and technical practice. There is the development
of the eye and the mind. I could go on, but you're getting the idea. Again,
as with the artistic abilities mentioned above, a huge amount of work goes
into developing the skills to make it look easy.
If you don't know what to say about the photographer's artistic talent or
skills, simply appreciate the scene itself. If it's beautiful, say so. If
it's ugly, well, you'll have to write your own essay for that one.