Nowadays, thanks to technological advances, for example, using any smart device, practically anyone can take a good photo. But definitely, technology is just a work tool. And that is the difference between taking a good photo and a great photo. Achieving a great photo goes beyond the tools available. It essentially depends on the photographer and his ability to transmit what he captures with his camera because photography is an art.
Art in an image
Making a great photo goes beyond cameras, lenses, and models, among other factors. Because the camera is just a tool that, of course, must be well understood, as well as all its accessories. But to capture that moment, with the right light and everything required to go beyond a good photo, it is necessary to understand that photography implicitly carries a message, it is a means of expression. It is more than a technique, it helps us to show what we like, what has motivated us and captured our attention, what makes us fall in love, and what we want to share.
A great photo shows what its creator feels, what he wants to show, and his concerns and emotions, from his unique and personal point of view. It goes beyond the aesthetic, of what is obvious to the eyes, and photography does not only imply capturing pretty or attractive pictures. She manages a great evocative capacity, she is capable of creating a more detailed, more powerful, more intimate meta-message, which for many is not so obvious. Making a great photo is capturing the art in an image.
A complex issue
Cataloging a photograph as good, bad, or fabulous, among other options, can become quite a complex issue. But it all depends on the color of the glass with which you look. As a means of expression, a photograph will not always be interpreted in the same way, nor will those who observe it have the same ability to understand the message that the photographer wishes to convey. It is something similar to what happens with a movie or a book. There is something for all audiences.
A photograph is too complex an object. Even if it reflects the most simple object that can be imagined, it is not logical to pigeonhole it only among basic possibilities. That would be equivalent to carrying out an unfair reductionist process on it. It is also not possible to ignore, among other aspects, the documentary value of an image or the technique implicit in its capture. In itself, many factors influence when deciding if a photograph is just a good photo or a great photo. And this without including the particular taste of the observer, to avoid falling into philosophical depths.
What makes the difference between a good photo and a great photo?
There are innumerable answers to this question. However, it may be possible to locate some aspects, which will inevitably appear at the time of answering it: the photographic and sociological aspects, for example. Of course, there are more criteria, but this is just a practical approximation for an initial comparison between a good photo and a great photo. Briefly, these aspects consist of:
The difference between a photo and a painting implies, in addition to the process used for its creation, the ability to capture or freeze the moment, the variations in exposure, and the considerations taken regarding the background, depth of field, and focus, among others.
And one cannot fail to mention the ability to capture the decisive moment that this kind of photographic opportunism implies: synchronizing reason, eye, and passion. Capture the ideal moment in a great photo, with an impeccable compositional treatment, and an exciting theme.
The sociological relevance of photography is undeniable. From a beautiful angle, a photograph can treasure the best personal or family moments. But it can also be a vital source of denunciation and become a motor for social change. And not necessarily these photos should be taken by professional photographers. A researcher or a reporter, for example, can record and document stories, motivated by their need to correct injustices or express their disappointment at the human tragedy that war implies… Seeking to motivate reflection, criticism, and denunciation.
In itself, there are many aspects to consider when evaluating a photograph: the photographer’s expertise, aesthetics, the environment, the model, semiotics, or the emotional aspect, among many. But everything will depend on the sensations that the image captured by a photographer’s lens is capable of awakening in the observer. His ability to move his viewer, to transport him to a world to which he cannot remain indifferent. For this reason, perhaps it is better not to speak of good photos or great photos, but valuable photos.