The Elements of a Great Photograph
A Thought Experiment
Photography is a very subjective and personal thing, so let’s try a brief thought experiment to find out what’s important to you.
I want you to close your eyes and think about one great photograph that you’ve seen recently. Think about what you like about the photo and why you remember it. The more specific the better. Is it the dramatic light, the interesting subject, the emotive feel of the image? Is it all of those things?
Now I want you to think about your own photography. Do you look for the same sort of things when you take pictures? New photographers tend to shoot things they find generically beautiful without really knowing why they are drawn to those scenes. You can help your pictures stand out from the crowd by identifying what’s important to you well in advance of pressing the shutter.
What Top Photographers Think
I recently asked 13 of my favorite travel photographers one simple question: “what is the most important element of a good photograph?”
Although there were some variations in their answers, I couldn’t help but notice one overall theme: Great photographs tell the story of “being there” by communicating with viewers in a beautiful and/or interesting way.
To read each of their responses:
Top Photographers Answer, “What Makes a Good Photograph?”