How to Makes a Good Photo

images (2)For example, the following image from a recent wedding shot a set up from the start, from an idea when saw the brides hotel bedroom. It was taken with just the camera and lens, nothing else. However, it has been through about 8 or 9 processes in Lightroom and Photoshop to get the end result.

However, a short time later during another semi-posed session, things broke down during the set up but I carried on shooting regardless. The result was me getting one of my favourite shots from the entire wedding day which is 100% natural and has simply been converted to black and white…

It is slightly blurred, a little grainy and overexposed but during the rest of the day and night I didn’t manage to get a more natural shot of the bride and her mother together and to be honest, I don’t think I could have done if I had the whole of the next day and night too!

It shows the bride in a completely natural state when deep inside the nerves are wreaking havoc. For this one moment it is all forgotten, the nerves disappear and she is genuinely being herself.

For me, that makes a photo good…the “naturalness” and emotional aspects of a very simple image. I am having this printed and framed for my office.

A week or so later during a camping holiday with my family, we had an evening of exceptional light so I dragged my kids into a nearby field for some semi-posed stock shots…

…and the next minute things broke down (as they generally do with children) and I quickly snapped this photo before my kids jumped all over me…

Again, it is slightly blurred and grainy and I have just converted to black and white and added a vignette. Once again, for me, natural wins the day and this will become another print on my office wall.

I sometimes feel proud to take a preconceived idea from its inception through to completion regardless of the fact that it is set up and manipulated in post processing. On the other hand, I simply love those fleeting moments that are caught without trying…the ones that you didn’t expect to get but did because you were on the ball with your finger on the pulse (or shutter) at all times.
Then there are the people that wade out into deep water, hang from rock faces or put themselves in danger for that one incredible image. The people that get up at “silly o clock” and drive for miles just to get the perfect light at the right time of year. The people that go the extra mile and do whatever it takes in the vain hope they may shoot a winner! Is that photography?After all, I could set up a shot, with models, lighting, correct camera settings and composition that anyone could come along and shoot with any camera and get a great image. Is that photography or have I just set up a nice scene which can be photographed?

So what makes a good image and who is the judge of that?

Well, anything can make an image good and anyone can be the judge of that! You see, it is still and always will be down to personal preference. Beauty, or the appreciation of art in any form, is in the eye of the beholder and that is certainly the case with photography. Does it really matter how the image was taken? What makes a photographer good?

What about this famous image I came across once again during my research…taken in Vietnam by Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams?

I have seen this image over and over ever since I got into photography many moons ago and have often studied it for ages over the years…

What was going through the mind of the executioner or the “VC”? Why did this happen? What is the story?

Adams said that he simply thought Lt. Colonel Nguyen Ngoc Loan was going to threaten the VC but as he raised his gun, Eddie kept shooting regardless and this image actually shows the point where the bullet is entering the VC’s head! On the pulse or what and once again, an amazing, thought provoking shot taken almost “by accident”.

The reason for me showing this is that the moment was also captured by TV film crews who showed the clip on the evening news but strangely, the photo has received more coverage over the years than the actual video clip ever will…why?

Some of the answers are possibly in this video which is definitely worth a look…