5 Questions to Make a Good Image

5 Questions to Make a Good Image

What is a good image? How do you know you made a good photograph? Keep reading to learn more about it.

During a shoot you press the shutter many times, later in the post-processing phase you need to select the “good” ones. But, what is a good image? How do you know which images to use and deliver to your client?

You have probably asked yourself this question before, that’s why I decided to do a bit of research and look for guidelines to select images. It turns out, there are many opinions and criteria to select images! On order to make it more accessible, I decided to use five questions to select an image to be processed and delivered.

Is there a clear subject in the image?

If your image displays random clutter in a room, street or landscape, so you can’t pick what is it that you’re trying to show, it’s probably not suitable for delivery. On the other hand, if your image displays a clear subject compared to the environment, you have a nice candidate to be delivered.

Discarded - It doesn't have a clear subject
Discarded – It doesn’t have a clear subject

Is the subject clearly focused?

If the subject is clearly defined against the background, but it’s out of focus… well, it may not work for your client. However, if it’s tack sharp and you can clearly see the details, you’re making progress.

Discarded - It's not well focused
Discarded – It’s not well focused

Does the image follow a composition rule?

This may be up for debate, but composition rules (guidelines) were defined before photography was invented and they work to attract the viewer’s attention. That’s why an image that follows a composition rule, whatever you like, is more likely to please your client, even though s/he doesn’t quite know why.

Discarded - Doesn't quite follow a composition rule
Discarded – Doesn’t quite follow a composition rule

Does the image tell a story?

This point may also be up for debate, because your client may not need to tell stories with their images. However, stories are attractive to the viewer and therefore, are effective for their main purpose, whether it is to show your work sell a product, deliver a message, etc.

Discarded - Doesn't quite tell a story
Discarded – Doesn’t quite tell a story

Does the lighting and exposure help with the story and display the subject?

If an image is too dark or too bright, has too much contrast or not enough, it won’t be pleasing to look at. If the viewer does not want to look at an image, or simply ignores it, then the image is not effective and it shouldn’t be delivered to your client.


A Good Image
A Good Image

And there you have it, five questions you can ask about an image to determine if it’s good. Of course, your client me have more specific requirements but these questions give you a starting point to select your images.

Do you have guidelines to select your images? Share them in the comments section!