What makes a great photograph?

16th October 2012

What makes a great photograph?

I haven't even started this blog and I know it is a bad idea... a REALLY bad idea.
There will never be a definitive answer to the question! But this is as I see it.

Of course there are many different (and memorable) styles of photography. When you combine this with an infinite amount of photographic subjects every person will have their own idea of what makes a 'GREAT PHOTOGRAPH'.

The only thing I can offer is my own point of view, and of course this is very personal. Inevitably I am going to be influenced by the choice of subject that I like to capture.

I'll say right at the start of this ramble that, even if I was backed into a corner under threat of serious pain, I still couldn't find a single picture of my own that I would offer as 'something really special'. The bar has been set very high by the truly great photographers.

However, this doesn't prevent me - nor should it prevent any of you - from trying to record the special moments that you enjoy.

This blog was inspired after I began sorting through a few old galleries. This made me consider what makes a successful shoot, or at least a shoot that achieved the result I was hoping for.

Much of my work as a professional photographer isn't about capturing a single great shot. My assignments often cover Events, Gigs, Sports and Commercial shoots that have to be recorded over a period of time. I am expected to capture the atmosphere, the special moments, the climax. My pictures are often seen as a collection and should give the viewer a true and descriptive presentation of a performance or occasion.
The challenge is to give the viewer memorable images of an experience they had been part of, or to show another person what they have missed.

You will see that I shoot a lot of gigs. These are a good example of how I approach my work. I will try to record a Bands stage performance in such a way that flicking through a Gallery the viewer should have a better understanding of the 'essence' of a Band's act.

But as I have already said, GREAT pictures don't come along too often. In fact if you are still waiting for me to tell you what makes a GREAT PHOTOGRAPH. Sorry, I can't!
You didn't think I was that talented, did you?
If I do discover the formula for guaranteed success I will bottle it.... I'll make a fortune ;-)

What I do know is that by putting in the time and effort and by being very 'self critical', slowly it is possible to develop your skills and your eye for a good pic. I try to practice what I preach and continue in the the pursuit of that illusive GREAT PHOTOGRAPH :-)

I offer a Gallery of pictures that you might like to take a look at.... but don't expect to see any GREAT pics yet. I'm still working on that!

The Gallery features a Band that I really enjoy. Elmer Henley are energetic and good to photograph.
If you take away a 'feel' for their stage performance after scrolling quickly though the pics I will consider the job 'well done'.
Follow my lead, grab your camera and start on the path to capturing better images... maybe even a GREAT PHOTOGRAPH one day!