What is a GOOD photo?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by GARRETTgalbreath, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. GARRETTgalbreath

    GARRETTgalbreath TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been wondering this for a few days now, and I realize a lot of threads hint at all this, but overall... what makes something amazing and something just average-point-n-shoot stuff? Obviously good focus, exposure, angle, and such, but contrats? colors? artistic elements (such as lines, rhythm, repition, etc)? When you evaluate a photo, how much of what do you tend to look for? I've never been anything too creative up until a few weeks ago (when I started photography), and only because I took Art Appreciation as one of my basics.

    I've learned a lot about techniques used in paintings and drawings, like tone, contrasts, lines, form, etc, and I've been looking at that more heavily when photographing/evaluating. What's the criteria for the rest of you guys/gals? I plan on using some of this to help head me in a direction with photography, thanks everyone.
     
  2. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    7,006
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Kankakee, IL
    Tough question! I've been at it for a bit longer and still find this hard to answer.

    I can share share a couple of GENERAL guidelines. First, a good photograph often has a subject, foreground and background. This will help give your images depth. This is usually accomplished with selevtive focus (the depth-of-field we SO often hear about here). Use of color or tone can do this too.

    Another element we often hear about here is cropping. Subject placement is important. The rule of thirds, leading lines, etc., all apply to photos too (I bet you learned these in your art class.)

    What I feel is most important is light and shadow. Photographs communicate three dimensional scenes in a two dimensional medium. Without highlights and shadow, shape and texture are not appreciated.

    Again, these are just starting points. One you understand some general "rules" of photography, you can create some of the most stunning photos by breaking them.

    So... that's my brief, initial thinking. I'll let the rest of you folks take it from here.

    -Pete Christie
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    If they can be broken then they aren't 'rules' but merely guidlines.
    There are only three unbreakable rules in Photography that I know of.

    Composition in Photography is pretty much the same as in Art. But knowing the elements and principals of composition is no guarantee of producing good photos - it's what you do with them that matters. And that is a purely subjective thing.
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2005
    Messages:
    7,006
    Likes Received:
    67
    Location:
    Kankakee, IL
    Oh! Oh! Oh! I want to hear the three rules!

    Thanks.

    -Pete Christie
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Many times the difference between the two is the time and effort applied by the photographer.
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    Knowledge gained without effort is worthless.

    It took me some 25 years to not only find out what the three rules are but what they mean as well. Now I am trying to learn how to use them.
    Come back in 25 years and ask again - or send me a cheque for $250,000 :mrgreen:

    Matt has it about right - and a lot of the time and effort put in doesn't involve the taking of pictures, either.
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2003
    Messages:
    7,021
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    What other medium besides photography is it possible to create in 1/250th of a second? ;) No wonder there are so many crappy photographs!
     
  8. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    I can be pretty quick on the draw....
    Motor drives. You forgot motor drives. People can churn out crap at 5fps. Maybe Kleenex should make film too?*


    *(Light sensitive lavatory paper. I like it :lol: )
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. GARRETTgalbreath

    GARRETTgalbreath TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interesting replies, so how long does everyone typically spend on setting up a shot? So far I've spent zero time on shots and just take multiple angles and different settings of the same shot (granted I do take mostly landscape photos).
     
  10. Geronimo

    Geronimo TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2003
    Messages:
    1,329
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Next to the point of no return.
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I try to visual the shot before I take it. Hell I try to do that before I hope in the car to get to the spot. Doesn't always work that way but it sure does help. But when I get to a sight I usually spend some time walking around to look at the varouis angles.
     
  11. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2004
    Messages:
    16,728
    Likes Received:
    45
    Location:
    Where am I now?
    How long is a piece of string?
    It depends upon what I am doing, why, how I feel and how important the shot is.
    A still life in the studio can take weeks of planning and organising and days to shoot. I assisted one photographer doing an ad and it took 12 weeks to get the shot right* (it won him an award though). And in my younger days I've spent all night in the car to see if a landscape shot looked better at sunrise than it did at sunset.
    At the same time I have a couple of point-and-shoots that I carry. If I see something it's a grab shot - and I don't always bother to look through the viewfinder.
    Like so much else in Photography the answer to this is purely personal preference.


    *That was in the golden days of limitless budgets (and pre-digital) - now it's all controlled by accountants and you have to work a d*mn sight quicker.
     
  12. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2005
    Messages:
    6,217
    Likes Received:
    134
    Location:
    London
    Sounds like a great way of getting loads of pictures you didn't really want. Still if you get the one you want then you can delete the rest - this is the biggest problem with digital - people stop thinking.

    My record is probably about one year and six months thinking about a shot, and I haven't taken either of the two pictures yet! Both are related to model photography, and one involves vampires - both will be fantastic when I've found the right models and locations and bought the camera I want for the image. Actually setting up the shots and poses depends on the models, props or content of the shot. If it's a steam train, then you're going to be thinking about wind-direction, elevation and other crazy things, whereas with a model, you've got clothes, background etc.

    If you're doing a wedding or studio portrait and it's all standard stuff then it's probably going to be done in a way you've figured out before. So you've spent your whole career "planning the shot".

    These days, I like to get together the other photographers in my gang and have a free-thinking exercise about the forthcoming shoot involving notes and storyboards. This generally involves 14 pints of Guinness each, a curry and a two day hangover.

    Yes, you can get lucky, but it's more rewarding to take the picture as you visualise it!

    Rob
     

Share This Page