Look for Photographs and not just a subject or a scene.

Today’s digital cameras consistently enable the taking of decent, sharp images of a subject — a snapshot. However, a good photograph goes beyond that simple rendering of a subject and becomes something interesting on its own, regardless if a viewer knows the subject or not. A good photograph is the difference between someone picking up a picture and commenting politely on the subject or telling you that you have a great shot. Of course, as photographers, we want the latter.

A photograph is something that is crafted, carefully made with attention to how the image is exposed and composed. A very simple, yet effective, way to focus on the photograph instead of simply capturing a rendition of a subject is to use the review function of your LCD monitor. After taking a picture, look at it in the LCD and ask yourself if you like this “photograph,” not just if you captured the subject. How does this little photograph appeal to you on its own, irrespective of its relation to the subject? 

What makes a Good photograph ? the essential element.


It is difficult to define precisely what it is that makes a “good” photograph. With pictures taken on vacation or of members of your family, what constitutes a good photograph may be a personal judgment. However, some photographs do communicate to a broader audience because of the revealing way the subject has been treated or the way in which the elements are composed to convey mood.

The photographs on these pages are all different in terms of subject matter, but each has a quality that invites closer inspection. Some images work because the photograph has captured the subject’s intriguing shape or some aspect of its form that makes it appear three-dimensional. In other photographs, the main element may be color – subtle and moody or vibrant and contrasting – or a humorous juxtaposition of subject elements. 

Main subject

A well-composed picture needs to have a main focal point. In this image, the woman in the foreground leads the eye to the boats in the sea giving a feeling of depth. The green of her swim suit is competing well with the green of the sea.

Vibrant color

The colour of this rose has been intensified by moving in close to exclude extraneous details and fill the whole frame with a deep, vibrant red.

Lens effect 

A Human element always adds to the photograph. Here the 200 mm lens makes the hill in the background appear quite close to the lady, where as it is quite a distance away from her.

Simple detail

Even a simple still life photograph of seemingly mundane objects  can be an image of considerable dramatic impact. 

When you are shooting in less-than- ideal conditions, look for inventive ways to “find the photographs.” If the light is bad over a large area, look for the good close-up. Or wind that is too strong to enable you to take close-up photos may help you get creative soft-focus photos if you use a slow shutter speed to capture blowing flowers.

A surprising number of excellent photographs have been taken in “bad” weather that seems to affect the subject badly. Heavy fog, thunderstorms, and snow blizzards often make for excellent photographs that are interesting beyond the subject. The next time that you think the weather is bad, go shoot and see what you get. It costs you nothing to take digital photos!