The Secret: What Makes A Good Photograph ? Update 12/2021

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What characteristics distinguish a strong photograph? Is it a fascinating topic? How much is this camera going to cost me? Some of the worst photos ever taken have been with high-end DSLRs. Amazing photos have been captured with toy cameras. Even something as simple as a glass of water has been the subject of stunning photography. So, what goes into taking a great picture?

Photography, like all art, is subjective, so what one person considers to be a great photograph may not appear so to another. However, there are a few ideas that can aid photographers as they make all of the choices that go into a single photograph.. To help us see our names beneath those stunning images, those same photography fundamentals give us an idea of what makes a good photograph. Start with these six photography fundamentals.

1) Forming a Vision

There must be a purpose for each and every picture you take. You can apply this principle to any kind of image, be it a random snapshot or the greatest piece of art ever created. Without a reason to take the picture, it will never be taken. This is what a photographer sees when he takes a picture.

When taking a picture, it always helps to have as clear a vision as possible in mind. A more effective way of approaching a cool scene is to say to yourself: “This landscape would look great in a moody black-and-white photograph. What’s the best way for me to do that?”

Imagine the final image in your mind’s eye as a helpful technique. Try to visualize how the scene in front of you will appear in your photograph, both the good and the bad points. Decide on your vision of the perfect photo and work backwards to arrive at that destination.

Creating a vision is straightforward; all you have to do is identify the message or emotion you want to convey. The most difficult part is matching your final photo to the ideal one you’ve envisioned in your head.

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2) Putting Your Vision Into Practice

Every aspect of photography must be approached thoughtfully and deliberately if you want to put your vision into practice in the field. It’s not enough to take a few quick photos when something appeals to you; the photo as a whole should be well-planned. Your subject is crucial to any photograph, and it’s where everything else in your shot will begin.

2.1) Choosing a suitable subject

One of the exercises we did in a workshop I attended involved taking pictures of flowers in a way that conveyed rage. All the outcomes were fascinating, and some were a success in their own right, but none of them were exactly in line with the original plan. What was the most important thing I learned from this exercise? Flowers fail miserably when it comes to eliciting certain kinds of responses. The instructor probably did not want us to learn that, but it is a critical lesson.

Not all topics are going to work for everyone’s vision. On a sunny day, photographing a bright waterfall and conjuring up images of terror would be extremely difficult; capturing a lightning storm over a massive volcano in a lighthearted manner would be no easier.

That is to say, you must exercise caution when picking a topic. Depending on what your vision is, everything you photograph adds something new to the table – its own, unique qualities that may or may not suit your vision. If you want to capture “something beautiful,” for example, many scenes aren’t designed for that purpose. Some will always be superior to others in terms of performance. As a result, be cautious when selecting the topics for your essays.

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2.2) Does everything have a reason ?

Deliberate. Purposeful. Those two words are crucial when learning how to take good photos. They may even be the most important.

Don’t make any rash decisions. There should be a rhyme or reason behind every element in a photograph you take. Nothing in a photograph can be an accident, not even the tiniest detail at the bottom of the frame or the way the light falls on the subject.

Every element in a scene should be evaluated carefully, and anything that is unwelcome should be removed. Composition and post-processing are so important in photography because they help you minimize the things in your photo that detract from it. If you want to achieve this, think about switching up your composition by moving your camera or using a different lens. The more you can fine-tune your photos on location, the better your final product will look.

One thing to be aware of is the use of overly aggressive post-processing to disguise serious flaws in a photograph. The ability to remove an inconvenient clump of grass from an image, or warp and squeeze a distant mountain to appear more impressive, does exist on occasion. It is always preferable to begin with the best possible base image, even if making those kinds of adjustments is acceptable from an artistic or ethical standpoint. How much post-processing you use has nothing to do with the final image’s quality; the quality of your original image does.

As a result, everything in your photographs should serve a specific function. The only reason something exists is because “that’s how the scene looked,” and you didn’t notice an issue because you weren’t paying attention enough.

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This isn’t always going to be simple, believe me. It’s not possible to crop out the entire mountain in the distance, for example, and it’s almost good enough to publish. However, I recently took a photo that’s almost good enough to publish. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do in those situations other than not include the photo in my portfolio.

Even if you can’t improve on every aspect of a photograph, chances are good that your initial attempt at a scene can be improved upon in some way. When it comes to photography, learning about lighting and composition is critical because they have such a large impact on the final product.

With photography, you can express yourself most fully when you make the entire image purposefully and deliberately; when you capture the world in such a way that your vision and emotions are communicated to a viewer without any interruption. You aren’t getting the most out of the scene if anything in your photograph appears unnecessary or is a distraction from your intended subject.

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2.3) Finding the right audience

Several of the most overused images on stock photography websites are also extremely well-designed, with each and every element of the photograph having been selected with care. Instead of revealing something new or beautiful to society, the photographer’s goal in these situations is to document reality as it currently exists. It’s for the purpose of taking a picture that corresponds to a keyword search.

A masterpiece is unlikely to be found if the viewer approaches a stock photo looking for one. In contrast, if you look at the same image through someone else’s eyes, you’ll be delighted to find the right picture of the red stapler on a blue background.

As a result, the quality of a photograph is highly dependent on who will be viewing it. Even if you manage to capture the most stunning wildlife image ever, a viewer who is looking for a picture of a harmonica isn’t going to be interested.

And it’s not just stock photos that are at issue here. Let’s say your goal is to take the best possible photograph of a mountain landscape. This could mean a variety of things to different people. Dark, moody, and serene images are my favorites. In my opinion, the best time to take mountain photos is just before or just after sunset, when there is very little light left and most of the subject’s fine details are obscured by shadow.

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That kind of photo would turn off a lot of other photographers because it’s so gloomy or boring. That’s also an option. Photographs that satisfy your criteria for a beautiful landscape picture include those with dramatic lighting, deep colors, or subjects that are only available once in a lifetime.

This means that for a viewer to be satisfied with an image you have created, your vision for the photograph must mesh with theirs. To make the final product more appealing to both of your tastes, the closer your preferences are, the less noticeable any flaws are to them.

It’s impossible to predict how someone else will react to one of your images, of course. In a sense, it’s all down to good fortune. However, if your viewers didn’t already follow your work, there’s a good chance that they have similar tastes to yours. You can only photograph and display images that match your personal tastes because you’re not shooting with an audience in mind (again, similar to stock photography). Ultimately, finding the right audience and knowing that they enjoy your writing style is all that’s needed most of the time.

3) Timing

A camera allows you to capture moments in time, and the precise moment at which you take a picture can mean the difference between an ordinary photograph and one that is truly remarkable.

Deciding when to take a picture has a significant impact on how time is captured in a photograph. When seen at the right moment, an animal’s hopping can appear to levitate. Shadows are capable of taking on a figurative or abstract appearance. Timing requires practice, but taking a series of quick photos while using the camera’s burst mode can also be beneficial.

Seconds and milliseconds are important, but so is the passage of time in general. When photographing with natural light, the time of day is critical. When the sun is low in the sky just before sunrise or just after sunset, it casts a warm glow on everything in its path. The sky turns a deep shade of blue just before sunset. On the other hand, a bright midday sun on a clear day casts harsh light and long shadows.

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4) Conclusion

A good photo is one that:

+ Has a clear vision

+ Expresses that vision successfully

+ Harmonizes well with your viewer’s own vision

The second one, in particular, is difficult to check off, but the effort is well worth it. If you meet all three criteria, the outcome is obvious: you’ll have a great photo.

Ultimately, everything in photography is just a tool to help you achieve your vision, whether that’s a goal or just a vision in the first place. It makes no difference if your goal is to take a stunning landscape photo or a quick selfie to send to a friend. A good photograph is one that accomplishes what it sets out to do and appeals to the tastes of the people who will see it.

It’s important to act with purpose if you want to get there. Begin by carefully selecting your subjects and making sure that every single element in your photographs serves a purpose. It is extremely rare for a great photograph to be taken by chance. Keeping that in mind puts you way ahead of the game.

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