What do I mean by ‘Hero Shot’ and ‘ PhotoShot? For want of better terminology, I am talking about the difference between taking a great shot aka ‘Hero Shot’ and utilising a photo editor like Adobe Photoshop to transpose, combine, mask or overlay to create a ‘PhotoShot ‘.
Note that the views expressed herein are predominantly related to my situation, i.e. wedding photography. The majority of wedding shots are taken on the trot with little time to spend on complex lighting setups or studio props.
The Hero Shot
A hero shot likely requires a mixture shooting skills including planning, patience, preparation and camera technical skill. On top of that, expertise with lighting, filters, lenses and assorted photographic accessories can make all the difference.
Hero shots likely require some Photoshopping to improve the composition and correct minor exposure, white balance, contrast, etc. but not masking, overlaying, etc.
Sometimes the subject matter just appears and one click later, what may have been an ordinary snap, has that added impact.
What I call a ‘PhotoShot’ combines 2 or more images to form a single image. Some of these individual images may even qualify as hero shots but the aim is to create something that may not be easily attainable by taking a single shot.
The image below was an attempt to integrate photography and fireworks by overlaying and masking 3 or 4 separate shots. Anyway, it is easily distinguishable as a PhotoShot.
PhotoShot requires expertise with Photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop. With all the tutorials on YouTube is not that difficult to produce the required effect. What is difficult, is conceiving a design that is novel and original. There are so many creative images on the internet that it is invariably challenging to produce fresh material.
Why compare Hero Shot vs PhotoShot?
When I am looking at images, I can’t help analysing whether some images are Hero Shots and PhotoShots. In some cases it is hard to tell which is which. I am fascinated with photography in general, so in addition there is an never ending challenge to understand how certain effects are achieved.
Personally, I find more appreciation in a good hero shot. This appreciation ranks higher when I am tentative about how the shot was accomplished or I am unsure that I could have foreseen the outcome given the same setting.
In some ways this is the crux of the satisfaction gained from photography. For every photo opportunity, there are so many possible outcomes. The ultimate test is to know how to optimise the outcome by being open minded and considering multiple possibilities. The photographic equipment on-hand could however determine the shooting limitations.
Degree of Difficulty
Taking wedding photos adds that additional degree of difficulty due to the dynamics set by the unfolding sequence of events. Even though weddings usually follow a familiar format, they don’t always go according to plan. Changes in the weather, people arriving late, family dynamics, etc. can easily send things off on a tangent. In many cases, that perfect lighting set up that would have been a great idea, ends up being pure speculation.
I carry two cameras (and hence two lenses) and a Speedlight on me during a wedding shoot. This is a limitation as even though the other gear (lighting etc.) is nearby, it is impractical to keep it within easy reach when moving around.