Secret Tips on How to Make a Good Photograph.

What makes a good photo…Hard question.

Photos are subjective by nature. Which means what you find to be a great photo might be average for another. That being said there are some general guidelines that make a good photo. Now before we begin, these are all guidelines (not rules), but they are quite effective in bringing out a good photo. They can be broken, when you know what exactly you are doing. So when you start off you want to adhere to these guidelines till you really understand what each item does.

Good photography is like a good book. If the writing is all over the place, the ink is all different colors, the pages don't flow in a chronological order, there is no consistent story and there is no punctuation….well makes for a pretty poor book. The same thing goes with photography in the usage of colors, the position of subjects, simplistic design with limited subjects and storytelling elements.

These concepts have been categorized into techniques to help make a good photograph.

Focal element

A good photograph is again like a good book. Too many characters in a book with separate plot-lines make it very hard to understand what the book is about. The same thing goes with photographs- too many subjects makes it hard to understand the message and story of a photo. As they say, simplicity is key.

  • Contrast

    • Contrast elements attract the eye.

    • Whiter areas will attract the eye more than darker aspects.

    • The odd one out will always attract your attention.

  • Saturation

    • More color equals more attention.

    • Just remember attention is not always good. Subtly is usually key. High contrast colors are usually jarring to the eye and unaesthetic. Remember balance is key. If you relate photographs to a story, an in your face photograph with colors is like having a story spoilt by someone before you even read it.

  • Camera focus

    • Simple. Things in focus attract your eye. If your doing portraits focus on the subjects eye.

  • Motion

    • Anything moving will attract the eye. Makes you snap to action.

  • Faces or figures

    • Any face or recognizable human characteristic causes your brain to divert attention automatically. It's a human evolutionary characteristic.

  • Guiding lines

    • Leading lines are lines that move into the subject, direction a viewers attention to the subject.









Composition

Composition is one element of photography that a lot of new photographer glance over and never really practice. Yes, it can be practiced. Its hard to practice, but once you do it really changes your perception of good photography.

There are composition guidelines such as the rule of thirds, the Fibonacci spiral and the golden ratio that all help in directing a viewers eye to particular points on the image. All these rules have areas where the focus is similar, yet slightly different. So if you're starting out start with the simplest (rule of thirds) and then experiment after.

Balance

With any kind of story, balance is required. Reading a story that leaves too much unknown in the ending is incomplete, however, done right can be called a cliffhanger. See the difference, it’s subtle.

  • Size

    • Size matters.

    • Big things attract attention, small things do not.

  • Contrast

    • In the image below, although the boy is a silhouette and darker, the human element and size balance each other to make him stand out as much as the bright, well lit, yet inanimate robot. This causes the even juxtaposition of the two and creates a compelling image.

  • Saturation

    • Keeping certain elements desaturated means that certain areas are more saturated, which attracts the eye. To create emphasis on subjects, there isn't a need to saturate everything. You can simple desaturate everything else.

  • Faces

    • Yes, there still needs to be a balance of faces. Google the most famous paintings that depict many people. Most peoples faces are barely recognizable, however, the subject has features well defined. The simpler subject means a simpler story which in turn is easier to convey.

Here are 2 full video that has a in-depth explanation of how to make a good photograph.
Videos by Blender Guru. His content is amazing even though it is meant for CG, but 100% related to photography.

Thanks for reading, if you have any topics you want covered, leave a comment.