Producing Great Impact Photography: The Risks and Dangers


The greatest impact photographers take the most mind-boggling risks. They take beautiful landscape pictures while leaning out of the open doors of helicopters and airplanes. They take pictures of furious beast charging toward the open jeeps in which they occupy. They take beautiful night shots of cityscapes located in the most dangerous sections of the city.

Impact photographers are not afraid to go where danger lurks.

To get the gold, you must face the dragon. Stunning impact photography demands courage and boldness. Walking up to intimidating gang leaders on the street and asking them to pose for you and then sign a model release is a recipe for hurt, harm, and physical damage.

However, this is what becoming a great impact photographer requires. Many people who you see with big cameras are only picture takers. Some of these pictures may be wonderful or even interesting to see.

Standing Out from the Crowd

But the most impactful and stunning photography suggest an element of danger.  For example, consider photographers caught up in the middle of war and chaos. Their lives on in constant danger but they can produce some of the most memorable and intense photos of the moment.

Such photographers capture heartache, pain, and suffering as well as hope and new beginnings. Through it all, they can keep their composer and produce historical photographs, a  feat that most common picture takers will never attempt.

Standing out from the crowd is the hallmark of great impact photography. But capturing in pictures what everybody else can capture is not a strategy for becoming an impact photographer. You must do things that others are unwilling to do. You much forsake the comfort zone of mere picture taking.

Caution (if desired)

Risk taking in impact photography is necessary if we desire to capture the genuine truth of a person, place, thing or event.  Nevertheless, exercise caution and minimize the risk if you can.

If you are going to make an impact in capturing risky photos, try to find an ally, especially if you decide to go into places where dangers are high.  For instance, it is always good to go with a fellow photographer if you are going into a dangerous section of a city at night.

Impact photographers often go into inner cities and capture the nightlife of popular and entertaining streets or the glamor lights of iconic buildings or the cityscape from a vantage point on the crime-ridden side of Chicago.

However, if you cannot find an assistant, let someone know where you are going, even if you are annoyed by the possibility that they may attempt to warn you of the dangers. If you come up missing, at least others will know where you were at the time.

Other Dangers in the Path

The danger of becoming a great impact photographer doesn’t have to be as dramatic and intimidating as going into dangerous places or hanging out of airplanes. But photography can be dangerous in broad daylight, especially when you are on busy city streets or the edge of the corner in your neighborhood.

Vital photographs can be taken, but the element of danger is still inherited.

For example, photographers can be caught up in accidents, crime waves, and natural disasters that suddenly take a turn for the worst.  The activity of capturing the state of the moment, at any given time, can put an impact photographer in harms way.

Now if you and I could ask ourselves one question, it would be this: is it worthwhile in risking our lives producing impact photography. The dangers are vast.

Nevertheless, as a society, we would not have the privilege of viewing the great impact photography that has helped define the nation of America.  Through photographs, we can trace the history of humanity, nation building,   war and peace, globalization, great inventions as well as the changes and challenges in society.

A product of boldness and danger, great impact photography will continue to have a voice that speaks louder than words.





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