They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, while it is true, a picture can also embody both good and bad emotions. They can portray anything: from rags to riches, classy to ridiculous. There is definitely no limit to what photographs can portray; there is no telling how much they can make people feel. However, like everything in this world, there will always be yin and yang. Or in this case, good and bad photographs.
But really, how do you even define a good photograph? If you want to define it technically, you can see this article: https://www.goseewrite.com/2013/07/top-photographers-answer-what-makes-a-good-photograph/. If you want to delve deeper into this, stick with me. I mean, a picture can have a pretty morbid theme and still be called magnificent. Or, it can be very blurry and still called “deep” or “moving.” While I do agree that we all have different ways of perceiving things, images especially, I also believe that there is a universal good and bad – the kind that people of all types from all sorts of places can agree on. Fundamentally, pictures too may be classified as either good or bad – especially when obvious factors are present for consideration.
To really define the good, we must first rule the bad. We have to approach this whole thing inductively. Let’s work our way up until we find the right answer. Let us first define what makes a photograph bad. Why? That is because the opposite of which would answer the question “What makes a certain photograph good?”
Odd vs. Ugly
Just because a photograph is strange doesn’t make it bad. You have to understand this one fact really well. Strange makes something unique; it sometimes even makes things appear more mysterious. So, long story short, being odd doesn’t make a photograph bad (see examples). It only makes it peculiarly special. However, too much oddity can definitely hurt any photograph’s popularity!
Amateur vs. Pro
Now, this one is a bit tricky. All too often, we attribute good photographs with good photographers. This, my friends, is not very fair. A person can work ten years in the field of Photography and not take one memorable shot or he/she can be learning photography for half a day and take the best, most impactful shot in the world. Being an amateur doesn’t disqualify anyone from taking a good photograph. Just like how every photograph shot by a pro isn’t necessarily good.
Planned vs. Unplanned Locations
Sure, spontaneous shots are great. However, there is also beauty is something that has been carefully prepared and planned. Setting the stage for the photograph can really make a big difference in the outcome of the film when it gets developed. The place, the timing, and the atmosphere must all complement each other if you want any photograph to last in people’s hearts and minds for a very long time. Are you aware of the fact that there is such a thing as a film hire agency? These websites help photographers, both amateurs and pros look for the best places to shoot their film. When it comes to backdrops and designs, I think it is better to go with planned setups – especially when you’re going for a professional shoot.
Posed Shots vs. Candid Shots
A good candid shot is always lovely to look at. I mean, the realness and authenticity in candid shots have that certain vibe which can easily draw people’s attention to them. They feel natural and carefree. Like nothing and no one has been forced inside the photo. However, candid shots are so easy to fake nowadays (There are even how-to articles about it now! Here’s one: https://wandersnap.co/blog/make-portraits-candid-awkward/). People are becoming too good at posing that they can even make themselves look unaware and non-self-conscious in pictures. They can even fake smiles and laughter perfectly. Case in point, there really is no difference between candid and conscious shots. Candid doesn’t necessarily mean better in any case just as pictures with planned poses can’t be seen as bad either. Moments become better when captured on film. That’s it.
So going back to the question, what is a good photograph?
Well, it is anything that captures moments – be it odd, abstract, planned, or candid. Pictures are pictures. Photographs are photographs. Some just happen to look better than others. In every film, in every photograph lies a story and that’s what makes it good. Sure, certain factors such as clarity, creativity, resolution, and shot angle are important considerations when deciding whether a photograph is good or not. But in the end, it’s the attachment people feel with each photograph that makes this form of art worthwhile.
Still, if we’re talking professionally, hiring a film agency to help you prepare for a shoot is also a very good option to take. After all, don’t you want to capture the best moments in the best ways possible?