What Makes a Good Photograph?


1) The best photographs are simple. The background of your picture shouldn’t have clutter or anything to distract from the photographs. Aim for simplicity in your photography.

2) Good photographs shows movement. When viewing a photograph — close your eyes and then open them — do your eyes move around in the photograph? This is a critical element in good photography. Movement in a photograph greatly improves a picture and makes it dynamic.

3) What is the main point in your picture? All good photographs have a main focus. Figure out the main focus like a person’s face, the sun setting, a landscape, or a musician playing a piano.

4) Get a variety of shots. Shot at different angles. Take some pictures looking up at people. Try taking photographs from above like from bridges or in back of a flatbed truck. Try not to take all photographs from eye level to get better overall results.

5) Look for moments when things come together like the focal point or highlight of an event or activity. You want to capture the highest point of the action where you will generally see people’s emotion.

6) Take more than one picture of your subject. Try taking pictures with slightly different exposures and different angles. You will receive better results by taking 5-10 pictures than just one.

Photographers should have a balance of wide-angle, medium, and close up shoots. Close up shoots of people or objects are very dramatic. Medium distance photographs tells a story and are the ones people generally take. Wide angle pictures can say a lot about people or things like how many people are at an event.


The key to good photographs is to have good shadow detail (dark areas) and highlight detail (light areas). Well lit pictures are very sharp and distinct. Be careful when taking photographs during the midday when you often get harsh shadows in the your photographs. Camera flash can also be too harsh many times. Diffused (indirect) lighting that will generally give you better results be it with flash or natural lighting.


Extremely important to expose the image correctly otherwise you have very light or very dark photographs. With a digital camera you have a better opportunity to get the exposure correctly since all of them have automatic exposure settings. If you want more control over your camera exposure you can either use shutter priority Tv, aperture priority Av, or manual M.

Updated from Community Images “The Photography Manual” May 2011.


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