Sunday, September 25, 2016



That is a question asked by many people.  You know art is so subjective that this is a difficult question to answer.  But, as you take a look at a group of photos, it is obvious that some are better than others.  What makes photos better than others?  Your eyes are naturally drawn to photos that are attractive, have some characteristics that are unique.  In this article, I hope to bring out the points that make those photos better than the others.

I have had some opportunities to be a judge at some local fairs in photographic competition.  With that you do have to know some of the rules of art, and composition.  Actually you don't.  You will find that the photos that are the best are the ones that naturally follow those rules.  For example, a photo with the subject in the middle seems so harsh, compared to the one that seems off center or well composed with the subject in the "third" portion of the photo.   It just seems right.  So, after looking at many photos, I have composed some things that I think that sets the real good photos apart from the ordinary:

“Chairs” captured by PictureSocial member Lilian Ann Murphy

Lines are the things that direct your eyes around the photograph.  They can be diagonal, they can be leading lines, they can be like the photo above, and just lead your eyes all through the photograph.  They are very important to just direct your eyes around a certain type of photograph. 
Photo by Jeff Hill, Picture Social member


Photo by Erik Stensland, Photography on Facebook Member, winner photo of the week

The shapes of your subject and background elements and how they interact will tell your story. Our brains are programmed to look for these things. One of your main challenges as a photographer is to demonstrate a 3D world in a 2D format, and good photographers understand how light (and shadow) interact with these subjects to make a scene come alive.
Photo by Darby Sawchuk, Photography on Facebook member, winner photo of the week.


Color is important in a photo, for sure, but, if you can get a photo with bold, dynamic colors, you will have to agree that your eyes will be drawn to that photo.  Try it some time and see if your friends and family don't just go OOOOhhh.  
“Neighbourhood Street in Venice” captured by PictureSocial member Pat Kehoe


You have to give credit to some photographers who just happen to walk upon the most beautiful landscapes, or picture taking opportunities accidently.  And they just capture it all, just because it happens to be so beautiful there.  I have some friends, that every time they post a photo, I swear they must live next to heaven or something.  All they have to do is go there at the right time of the day, and they capture these beautiful photos every time they go there. 

Photo by Pamela Locke
Photo by Duarte Sol Photography - Portugal


This does have to have a certain amount of good element to this.  So many wonderful photos are captured, not by any skill of the photographer, but, by just being there at the right place and at the right time.  It certainly helps if the person being there happens to know about photography.  I have often looked at some of those photos that are caught on camera and said, "wow, it would have been so much better if they knew what they were doing".  Right?  But, there are good photographers who do happen to be in the right place at the right time to capture images that are amazing.

Double rainbow over Amsterdam. Photo taken by:  Pie Aerts.  A rare and beautiful photo rarely captured anywhere of this magnitude.

Photo taken by Dan Piech over New York City.  Called the "The Hand of Zeus"  It's not easy to catch lightning like this.

Almost all the better photos taken will have the above points in them.  There may be a few exceptions I am sure.  But, it takes thinking about these things to make sure your photos are better than the guy next to you.  Of course the equipment you have may be the thing that captures it just right.  It takes practice, practice, practice.  In a previous article I posted recently, it stated that you have to take about 10,000 photos before you start taking good photos.  I am not sure that is totally accurate, because I think you will take a few good ones in getting to that number.  But, while you are taking those photos, you will be thinking about these points as you take them. 

Now when you go to a National Park, or to Disneyland, and they tell you to "stand here" for a photo opportunity, will  you stand there?  I hope not.  Look around for other places that will make your photo more unique.  Capture these photos from different angles, with a story behind the faces:

But photography isn’t only about being able to see what’s in front of you; you have to be able to record what you see using some technology that is more advanced than what it took to take Neil Armstrong and his buddies to the moon. This can be quite daunting for some people and is the reason you see so many people with really good cameras keeping their dial on the green auto mode and never moving past that. Don’t be that person.

Allright, go and enjoy photography.  Learn about composition well, and learn all the different things your camera can do.  And make photos that are better than the others.


Entertainment & learning for the photographer

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