Copyright Scott Bourne - 2009 All Rights Reserved

Copyright Scott Bourne - 2009 All Rights Reserved

How Do I Know if I Shot a Good Photograph?

My pal Rick Sammon gave his take on this subject a few days ago here at http://bit.ly/JF51S. Now it’s my turn.

Here are 10 things to look for in a good photograph. (NOTE: These are offered in no particular order.)

1. Correct exposure. The image is not too bright or too dark. Unless for artistic reasons, there are no blocked up shadows or blown out highlights.

2. Sharpness. The photo is sharp where it needs to be. Unless for artistic reasons, your subject should be in sharp focus. If you’re photographing a person, the eyes must be in focus.

3. Background. Is there anything in the background that distracts from the photo or competes with your eye’s attention on the subject? Look for uncluttered backgrounds.

4. Composition. Is the photo balanced? You want to avoid horizons that cut through the middle of the photo. Unless for artistic reasons, you want to avoid placing your subject dead center.

5. Intruders. Look out for intruders. These are simply objects that encroach on the edges of your image. Tree branches are a typical offender as our power lines, etc.

6. Color. Are the colors believable? You want to get good color rendition in a color photograph. Unless for artistic reasons, the color should be similar to what you saw with your naked eye.

7. Emotion. The photograph should evoke some emotion. Any emotion will do. But really good photographs cause an emotional reaction.

8. Subject. You want to find an interesting subject. It can be a person, an animal, a mountain, etc., whatever it is, look for something that is special, or interesting or better yet arresting. If you’re not sure what the picture is about, it’s not typically a good photograph.

9. Attention. Is there enough attention on your subject? Look for ways to draw attention to the subject. This can be done by getting closer, filling the frame, eliminating clutter, etc.

10. Light. It’s impossible to have a good photograph without good light. It is possible to have an OK subject, but take the OK subject and put it in good light and all of a sudden, you have a GOOD subject. Look for the light.

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This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

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  1. [...] I stumbled across Scott Bourne’s recent post, 10 Ways to Know You Made a Good Picture. Emotion was the word that struck me. I want my images to evoke an emotion. To draw attention. To [...]

  2. [...] I stumbled across Scott Bourne’s recent post, 10 Ways to Know You Made a Good Picture. Emotion was the word that struck me. I want my images to evoke an emotion. To draw attention. To [...]

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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