A Good Photograph


Focus by Lil brah "Going through contacts"Focus Stack by RameshClicks

What makes a good photograph? Or who is called a good photographer?

Someone sent me their portfolio for review. While I was extremely flattered, I was not sure if I was even qualified to judge someone else’s work.

Because I have had these questions for a while. Everyone who can afford a camera – and that’s a looot of people – are photographers. Amateurs, professionals – it is a thin line. The line being the professionals do it for money.

But how do you judge a good photograph?

To me, for a long while, it was just that first impression the photograph made. If it caught me, I liked it.

As I learnt more about photography, I began to notice little faults and things that marred the photo. A little finger chopped off at the edge, the slight blur of something… those errors sometimes added character to the photo and sometimes, well, didn’t.

But I continued to believe that the photo need to capture someone’s attention.

Then I went back to all my favorites on the flickr stream and wondered why I would delete some photos after having marked it as a favorite the previous day.

The first photo in this set, for instance. When I first looked at it, I sorta liked it. Then I looked closer and realised that it didn’t really speak to me. The focussing is good… but anyone can achieve that with an SLR or even a digicam. What really makes this photographer or the photographer good?

The second photo in the set as well… it is unprocessed and plain. Even if he did process it, what would pop out? What is the story here?

Photography is a personal thing, and this argument is an old one too.

But does mere focus points make a good photograph?

I then came across the next two photographs… while the first one again doesn’t have something really fascinating, it does interest you. I’ve taken such photographs… photos of colourful tangles of wires, thorns and such. Nothing really special but just… trippy. Sometimes, it could look interesting with some processing, like the one here.

POM by Jagdey
POM, a photo by Jagdey on Flickr.

I like the sharp focus on the seeds and the contrasting colours.

I found some ‘basics’ steps on Ken Rockwell. They do tell you how to make an interesting photograph… but there is still so much left upto perspective.

I guess that’s why I like shooting people more. Different emotions, expressions, methods… and constantly changing. Product photography is fun… the challenge lies in finding as many interesting angles as possible… but there’s more variety and challenge with people.

The ultimate challenge – and what makes a good photograph – is to tell the story in that one image.

Here is a little photo essay I found… Does that tell a story?

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