What makes a great photograph? By Mark Blezard
Updated: Feb 12
5 tips for new photographers.
But before I reveal all, let me tell you about paintings. When I buy original artwork the manager of my local gallery always tells me, 'This is a great investment, the artist is up and coming. If I had some spare cash I would buy a couple of her pieces.'
Well, she might be right, but I always buy a painting because I like it, that's all. If it makes money, great. If not – I still want it hanging on my wall. And herein lies my answer about what makes a great photograph – if you like it, it is great.
Sure, if you are a professional photographer, being paid to capture something that your client can't, you need to be able to add more. It needs to be technically correct as well as what the client requested. But if you are starting out in photography the most important point to first grasp is the enjoyment of taking pictures, and let the rest follow in good time.
What is the definition of a 'professional photographer'? It is someone who's profession is taking photographs. It does not mean that they are good or great! So, if you are starting out in photography here are my five tips, or steps, towards improving what you do. In this order...
1) Enjoyment and liking what you've captured. With enjoyment comes the desire to learn and practice.
2) Spotting opportunities. It's no good being an expert if you miss a great picture. Learn to actually look when you walk. Not 'looking where you walk'.
3) Focus. There is very little Photoshop can recover in way of a blurred image. Learn to manual focus and the use of depth of field.
4) Composition. Great composition can support a degree of poor exposure or other technical errors. Spend time cropping images in Photoshop to see what kind of a difference you can make. How dramatic can your image become when the main focal point is moved to an extreme edge?
5) Exposure. There are many apps that will correct smaller mistakes or allow you to push/pull the image to a different place. However, perfect exposure will not save poor composition, focus, or a boring image.