What Makes A Great Photo?

A great photograph is in the eyes of the beholder. What one person likes, another person may not. It is simply personal preference. But the question is…do you know why you like a certain photograph, or a painting too for that matter? You should be taking photographs that you enjoy seeing and sharing with others.

Here is a tip to help you. I tell people in my photo classes, to select 20 photos they like from magazines and newspapers-cut them out and place them on a table in front of them as a group. Then go from photograph to photograph and ask yourself, “Why do I like this?” Take notes on each one.

Then read your notes collectively.

The whole idea behind this exrcise is to know why you like the photographs you selected. In a class it is interesting to hear diffiferent comments from other individuals. You should apply those same attributes to the photos that you take. For example, in outdoor scenes I try to get something up close in the foreground to help frame it and add depth…or I look for an interesting design…or something that has strong blacks and whites.

When taking color photographs which nearly everyone does, sometimes the bright colors well overcast the design or composition and you will have bright colors, but not a good photograph. It is easier to see good composition in black and white. Just for fun have a couple of your good photographs converted to black and white and see what you think of them. Not every good color photograph will make a good black and white one.

Here’s a photo of a bead maker taken in the French Market in New Orleans. It looks good in both black and white and in color too. The finished beads surrounding the bead maker make an interesting design on the table top. The photo was taken in 2009.

French Market  Bead Maker water

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