What Makes a Great Photo?

Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Messages
22,568
Location
Moscow, Idaho
Interesting for sure. Bookmarked!
Of the 5 factors mention, creative processing is the one I least appreciate and use. The other 4 make great sense.
One of my pet peeves, and I'm so glad he didn't go there, is to shoot beautiful places. I'm so tired of boring pictures of beautiful places and having people go, "Awe, that's such an amazing picture!" Cliché shots are not for me. (end of mini rant).
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
21,088
Location
SW Virginia
I would agree with those five factors, but would also say that their relative importance varies with the type of subject. Light and composition are of greatest importance to landscape photography, whereas timing is the most important in street photography and photojournalism. One of the greatest photojournalists, Henri Cartier-Bresson, said:

"To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression."
 
Interesting article! As for "creative processing," I think too often too many people go overboard with this and the image loses all touch with reality...... The whole HDR thing has really caused some serious issues! While the article author's images were of subjects which could be compelling in their own right, IMHO he seems to lean a little too much in the direction of overdoing things in the editing/processing realm. I thought they were a little too heavily processed, making them look more like paintings than photos, which immediately tends to turn me off. That's just me, though....
 

Butlerkid

Cafe Ambassador
Moderator
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
20,428
Location
Rutledge, Tennessee
Real Name
Karen
Random thoughts....

This article was about great images, not point-n-shoot quickies posted to get "likes" or images that are routinely seen. LOL!

I believe photography (i.e. great images) is a communicative art. And that the photographer should have reason for taking the image and sharing it with others. And that the photographer is generally trying to elicit a reaction from the viewer such as awe, an emotion, insight, or spur the viewer to action.

Thus I think each factor applies to every image. The selection of shutter speed and when to click the shutter are also an aspects of "timing" in landscape, street photography, wildlife, portraits, etc.

A great image - IMHO - does require processing to communicate what the photographer is trying to communicate. That processing may be minimal or dramatic. It depends on what vision the photographer has for that image. That may not be a xerox copy of reality. And as such, may not be admired by everyone.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Messages
22,568
Location
Moscow, Idaho
Well put Karen. The distinction between photographs and snapshots is important. And wile there are bad photographs and good snapshots, the thought process of a photograph is more involved.
 
the thought process of a photograph is more involved
The thought process of a great photograph evolves usually over years; even when the entire thought process of capturing a particular image instinctively requires less than a second for the experienced photographer (sometimes that's all that is allowed), that instinct is acquired usually only over years of practice and contemplating the results.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2007
Messages
3,528
Location
Thornhill, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto
IMO:
(I didn’t read it)
A person makes a photo
If others like it then it’s great
There’s no formula
You'll have to explain what you mean by "like".
Perhaps I'm splitting hairs here and just playing with semantics, but my photographic heroes are mainly photojournalists and combat photographers, and while many of their shots evoke strong emotions, explain or inform me of events (Nick Ut's photograph of Vietnamese girl Kim Phuc burned by Napalm, Larry Burrows incredible photo-essay "One ride with Yankee Papa Thirteen, Eddie Adams picture of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing Viet Cong hit-team leader Nguyen Van Lem in Saigon, South African Bang Bang Club photographer Kevin Carter's shot of starving Sudanese child Kong Nyong being stalked by a vulture, for example) I don't consider them to be photos that I "like", and yet I consider them all to be great photographs in that they tell stories, which is my first priority as a photographer.
Robert
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom