A photograph is an image of a subject captured from real life by a camera. Cameras can operate across various wavelength ranges of electromagnetic radiation, including the visible light spectrum, ultraviolet, infrared and X-ray.

Photographs are a useful and cost-effective method for technical and data recording, analysis, measurement, reporting or research. A photograph should be used when it would help the reader’s understanding of the subject being discussed. A good photograph can provide detail and context that might otherwise require hundreds of words to convey.

Photographs can be used to:

  • define subjects that may otherwise be interpreted subjectively, such as particular colouration or texture, or relationships between parts of the subject
  • illustrate or describe a subject, such as an animal or a landscape
  • record information
  • show small subjects that require magnification (photomacrography)
  • show subjects viewed using microscopes (photomicrography)
  • demonstrate or instruct, such as photographs of medical procedures
  • compare, such as ‘before’ and ‘after’ images
  • add visual interest to a publication (which increases the likelihood of its being picked up by a reader)
  • break up the density of text on a page (which increases the readability of the publication).

Photographs can be poorly produced – you may need expert help. Understanding some technical principles of photography, and the quality and resolution needed for publication is critical.

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