What makes a good image? How do you know you made a good photograph? Keep reading to learn 5 questions to make a good photograph.
During a shoot you press the shutter many times, capturing as many images. 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 chose five questions to ask when culling images. These questions should help select imagees to be processed and delivered.
5 Questions for a Good Photograph
The five questions are simple:
- Is there a clear subject in the image?
- Is the subject clearly focused?
- Does the image follow a composition rule?
- Does the image tell a story?
- Does the lighting and exposure help the story?
Let me explain them. I’ll show some of the images I discarded from a photoshoot, explaining why I discarded them.
Is there a clear subject in the image?
If your image displays random clutter in a room, street or landscape, you can’t pick what it is that you’re trying to show. In this case, it’s probably not suitable for delivery. On the other hand, if your image displays a clear subject relative to the environment, you have a nice candidate to be delivered.
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.
Does the image follow a composition rule?
This may be up for debate but, composition rules (guidelines) were defined before photography was invented. The reason we use composition rules is they work to attract the viewer’s attention. That’s why an image that follows a composition rule is more likely to please your client.
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 because they make a human connection. Therefore, stories are effective to show your work, sell a product, deliver a message, etc.
Does the lighting and exposure help the story and display the subject?
If an image is too dark or too bright, it won’t be pleasing to look at. The same applies if it has too much contrast or not enough. If the viewer does not want to look at an image or simply ignores it, then the image is not effective. It shouldn’t be delivered to your client.
And there you have it, 5 questions to make a good photograph. Of course, your client may have additional requirements so this is a starting point.
Do you have guidelines to select your images? Share them in the comments section!