What makes a great photograph? It’s a question that’s been asked for decades, and will probably continue to be asked for many years to come. No matter how much technology evolves, or how many new trends arise, there will always be an appreciation for the beauty of an exceptional image.
Taste is subjective, but there are many characteristics that can make a photo stand out. Depending on your personal preferences, you might recognize some of these elements in your favorite photographs:
Color – Color can evoke specific emotions in people. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that red was most frequently associated with erotic content while blue was seen as “cold” and “calculating.” You can use colors to evoke feelings within your photos by adjusting the lighting and using props.
Large Format – Large format cameras are those that have film negatives larger than 35mm. They usually have one or more lenses which give them a distinctive look. Large format cameras were popularized in the early 20th century by photographers such as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams who used these cameras to capture landscapes and other scenic shots.
Lighting – Lighting can be tricky but it’s also an important element when it comes to taking a great shot. The placement of light can help define the shape
I get asked often what makes a great photograph, and in particular what the “rules” are. There are no rules. That’s not to say that there are no guidelines and no conventions, but rather that a good photograph is an amalgam of many different elements and influences.
I am writing this blog to talk about the building blocks of a great image, and to help you, the photographer, along on your journey to creating your own signature style.
1) Great photography is simple. A great photograph doesn’t need clutter to draw attention. Look at any classic portrait or landscape. The subject matter tells us everything we need to know about it.
2) Great photography is honest. It tells the truth about its subject without embellishment or exaggeration. It uses its medium as a way to inform the viewer rather than distract from the subject matter.
3) Great photography has a point of view (POV). This is where you, the photographer, come into play. Your images should reflect your thoughts and feelings about the subject matter in order to give them meaning and purpose beyond just being a pretty picture.
4) Great photography is timeless. In other words, it will withstand the test of time by appealing universally to all viewers regardless of when or how they
The people that contribute to this blog are great photographers. A quick look at their portfolios will prove that. But what exactly makes a great photograph?
We ask the contributors to this blog “What Makes a Great Photograph?” and they answer, in depth, with examples and descriptions.
The images that remain in the collective consciousness have done so for a reason. They have managed to capture something special. Here are some of the greatest photographers and their thoughts on what makes a great photograph.
Photography is concerned with capturing images, but what makes an image memorable? The ability to show human emotion, according to photographer and director David Lynch. “A great photograph to me is one that’s captured an emotion. It’s a moment in time that’s never going to exist again,” he says in this short film by Kodak.
Telling a story is also key, according to American photographer Gordon Parks. “The essence of photography is capturing a moment that’s true, real,” he says in the clip below.
Can you identify the moment? Many photographers all agree on another thing: you can’t force these kinds of moments, but you can be prepared for them.”If I get up and I go into the field knowing that I’m going to take pictures, then I’m not really seeing what’s there,” Ansel Adams once said. “So if I’m out walking around and suddenly it starts raining or snowing, getting dark early – all those things – then I can say, ‘Oh! This is something!'”
While some photographs may
It’s difficult to identify the elements that make a great photograph. What makes a great photograph? For some it is composition and for others it’s lighting. Still others may say it’s the ability to capture emotion. Whatever the reasons, there are many elements which can make a photo a work of art. Let’s look at ten elements of photography:
1. Composition – This is the arrangement or placement of objects in your photo. It could be horizontal or vertical, centered or not centered, have one main object or several main objects. It’s all up to you, depending on what you’re trying to convey in your photo.
2. Lighting – Lighting is very important in photography and can make or break a shot. It can add drama as well as remove unwanted shadows and highlights that hinder detail in your subject matter.
3. Subject – The subject is what makes your photo unique; it could be a person, building, landscape, animal, etc.4. Color – The use of color is used differently by different photographers but generally it should enhance your photo and not take away from it.5. Texture – Texture is an element that I love in photos because it adds more dimension and depth to my photographs.6. Story – There is always a story
A great photograph communicates a powerful idea or feeling. It can be an image of something that has never been seen before, or an image that evokes the way we all see the world, differently but similarly. There is no specific formula for creating a great photograph, but there are some elements that make it more likely that a given creation will be deemed great.
Tone, lighting, composition and subject are all important elements of a good photograph. It’s no coincidence that many photographers refer to these as the “4 C’s” of photography. The most important element of a great photograph is its ability to communicate a powerful idea or feeling in one glance. An image that makes you stop and think is more likely to be great than one that does not.
Tone is how you feel about the picture, whether it’s happy or sad, vibrant or somber. Lighting is how you feel about the picture in terms of its brightness and darkness-is it dark and brooding? Or bright and uplifting? Composition refers to how you feel about the placement of the subject matter within the frame-are your eye drawn specifically to the central focus of what you’re photographing? Or do other elements distract your attention?
Subject refers to what exactly is in your photo
A great photograph is one that is so perfect and so unique with its impact on viewers that it never ceases to be relevant. The best photographers are able to capture a moment in time so the viewer can see it and experience it again and again.
A great photograph must be technically perfect, where all elements of the photograph come together in harmony and balance. Every element must have been considered for the final image. It is more about composition than anything else.
A great photograph has impact, which means that every viewer will have a different reaction to it based on their own life experiences, which means that the same photograph can have a different message for each and every person who views it.
A great photograph has relevance, meaning that the message imparted by the photo is clearly understood by viewers even if they do not agree with what was photographed or how it was captured. A great photo has meaning beyond only the obvious subject matter, but can also evoke additional feelings or emotions within the very viewer.
A great photograph is timeless, meaning that as time passes, it will continue to be relevant and compelling to future generations of photographers.