Too often, when we talk about photography, we focus on the camera type, the model, the number of pixels, and so on. But the camera is not that important.
The most important is the message we want to convey. Everything else—the picture frame, the shutter speed, the depth of field—will derive from the intent.
For example, when I made this photo, I wanted to show how the powder snow was bountiful and how small we were compared to the mountain. So I chose to show just snow in two-thirds of the picture. And I waited for skiers to pass at a distance so that I could capture them as small subjects.
As the snow was my main subject, I focused on the powder and adjusted the iris to get a good amount of light on the snow (the iris was almost closed as the sun was beaming straight into the lens).
Likewise, in order to capture attention and be useful, a viz must have a clear intent. When I visualize data using Tableau, I force myself to set a clear question or hypothesis before digging into the data or even before looking for the data.
For example, earlier this summer, it took me a few days to find a question that would have a social dimension as well as a sport-related angle: Are Paralympics encouraged by the main Olympics countries?
As I wanted to convince people that the Paralympics should be considered as important as the Olympics, I chose to use a newspaper layout to add a serious tone. For the same reason, I chose to use only two colors. Then I chose two KPIs that would allow me to compare each country performances in both Games. The KPIs, the layout, and the data that I used all derived from the question I wanted to answer:
Click to see the full viz.