As photographers, we all strive to be able to encapsulate our thoughts, ideas and messages in compelling images. But, how many of us actually take the time to learn how to better read photographs? What do we really know about visual communication? It doesn’t only apply to the ones we look at on magazines, blogs and social media on a daily basis. More importantly, it also extends to the photo exhibits we attend, prints we buy and photo books that we flip through once in a while.

This is the premise of the video above by Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography, where he tells us why understanding what we’re seeing in a photograph is important. Not only is it crucial to having a better appreciation and deeper understanding of the photographer’s story or message in a photo. It is also key to improving our own skills and learning from iconic photographers. As someone who previously worked in an art museum, he wanted to share the four points that he thinks about whenever he looks at a photo. His hope is for people, especially photographers, to get a better grasp of visual communication by evaluating images with these details in mind.