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Exactly What Makes A Great Picture?

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by Matt Foden  Photo by Rafael Barros from Pexels

I'm totally sure this article will be controversial. I mean, in the end, just how do you fairly characterize what constitutes a wonderful picture? It's nothing like marking a math report, where there is usually a right or wrong solution. Photography, much like almost every other art form, is quite subjective. That said, I do believe that we have particular aspects that every fantastic photographs share in common. Here's my (subjective) attempt at identifying them:

1. Effective utilization of Light- I've carefully placed this in position one, for the reason that digital photography is essentially all about light. As has been said many a time, photography literally means 'painting with light', and to become a true master of this discipline requires that you can read and understand light in a similar manner that you read and comprehend language- Metaphorically, it truly is among the linguistic building blocks of taking pictures. When taking a photograph, excellent photographers will consider the direction as well as the quality of light. Is the subject side lit, or back lit? Is the source of light hard or very soft? Am I Going To set up the photo so that it is low-key or high key? Based on the answers to these questions the overall emotional feel and aesthetic of the shot changes radically, thereby altering its meaning. To provide an example, take a look at a few classic pictures taken of jazz clubs in low light. Typically they're low key in character and they generate a very definite 'noir' aesthetic. Play around with light in order that it supports the meaning you are hoping to convey in the picture.

2. Excellent Composition- As in great art, great photographs have a feeling of compositional form and balance that is pleasing to the eye. As a starting point it's a great idea to grasp the essential rules of composition, for example using the rules of thirds. Once you have learned them though, don't hesitate to play around with them and break the rules. It's a way of creating your own unique style, and who wants to be tied to rules anyway?

3. A Sense of Timing- Take a look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the indisputable master of street photography, and you will notice that, as well as having complete mastery of composition, he was also a guru of timing. He knew when and how to prepare for what he termed 'The Decisive Moment'; that phase in time when each of the aspects of the image fit into place and when the emotional 'pitch' of the story is at its peak. Effective timing is definitely critical in photography. Practise being patient, and remember to try and foresee the right moment at which to activate the shutter button.

4. A Clear Subject- Good photographs are apt to have a really clear idea of what the primary subject of the photograph is. If you find that whenever you frame an image the subject is unclear then try removing any needless elements. Many times simplifying the image is the best way to improve it.

Try tinkering with these various elements to find out what works for you. Don't forget you only get better with lots of practice. Good luck!

 

Matt Foden Photography are husband and wife photography team Brenda and Matt Foden, based in Croydon, Surrey. They are London Wedding Photographers.

Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Exactly-What-Makes-A-Great-Picture-/264109

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