What makes a photograph good or bad? What attributes to making great photographs? Well, it is not just one thing which makes the photograph awesome; it is in fact a whole lot of rules, factors and skills practiced and implemented by the photographer to make the great photograph happen. A perfect blend of the photographer’s expression and the photography concepts at play contribute to the greatness of the photograph. While stumbling through interesting photographs on Flickr and picking the good ones for the blog posts, I have come across the following factors that make the photographs worthy of appreciation.
The primary factor which makes the photograph the creative vision of the photographer. The photographer’s vision and imagination not only makes the photograph unique, it also contributes in making the photograph interesting. An innate eye for aestheticism and the skill to achieve the results make the photographs stand out distinctly.
Composition is the in-thing. In the words of Ken Rockwell,
Every image needs strong underlying compositional order so that it grabs the eye from a hundred feet away.
If the photograph cannot attract the viewer’s attention from a distance it is no good. The photograph that portrays the underlying structure captures the viewer’s attention from distance as opposed to the fine details which are used for holding the eyes from moving out of the frame.
Photography is all about capturing the moment, the moment when the photographer gets lucky to witness something amazing and then freeze it to eternity. This is how a great photograph is described on National Geography,
The great pictures just stop time. They capture something that did not continue. It just was then, and that was the perfect moment. It wasn’t the moment before. It wasn’t the moment after. It was that moment.
The shape, form, patterns, texture, etc form the part of details. Capturing the fine details hold the viewers eye in the frame. These fine details instill the reality onto the photographic frame.
The photographs consist of various elements, the subject, the details, the highlights and the shadows; but the most prominent of the elements of the photographs is the colors. Colors make the photographs interesting, lively and attractive. Photographs speak the language of colors; for instance a black and white photograph makes one nostalgic and warm colors pull your eyes into the photograph.
A Story Through A Photograph
The photographs which tell the story or portray the concept as in case of photojournalism hold good chances of appreciation. These photographs expose and portray the real life scenarios with which the common man connects well.
Tightly Cropped Image
These images are good at expressing the photographer’s stand. The tightly cropped images draw the viewers attention into the frame to perhaps understand what the photographer is trying to say through the visual clues.
Simpllicity is a strong feature of any photograph. Simple photographs have soothing effect and gives ample of free / negative space for resting the eyes. Simplicity apparently reduce the clutter and portrays the strong subject to focus on.
Compelling Subject Or Story
Most of times, it is an interesting subjects that make the photographs interesting. A bunch of colorful balloons in the sky, children playing in rain, beautiful scenery, the bird on the flight, a tear dropping from the eye or simply the colors in the photograph tend to have an impact on the viewers.
The photographs with a professional finish ultimately draws the viewers’ attention. The fine-tuned sharpness, contrast, white balance and saturation render the professional “look” to the photographs. The subtle adjustments make the images lively and expressive. In the digital age, post-processing is an extension of creativity. You can “create” your vision even in the post-production phase.
What do you think makes your photographs “great”?