How to Take Good Photos

“How Do I Take Good Photos?” or “How do I Take Better Photos” are amongst the top questions asked by beginner photographers.

It is not a question that is easy to answer, because exactly what constitutes a “good” photo can be difficult to define, because it is largely dependent on the purpose of the photo.

A “good holiday snap”, will be very different to a “good product photo” or a “good corporate headshot”, a “good glamour model photo” or even a “good forensic photo”.  Every “type” of photo will have different criteria which determines how effective the photo is at satisfying it’s specific purpose – and therefore how “good” it is.

dslrWhy are You Taking the Photo?

The very first  (and most important) thing you need to decide therefore is what is the purpose of the photo ?

How will the photo be used? Who will look at it? What “message” do you you want the photo to give ?

General “Good Photo” Characteristics

All that being said, and recognising that the purpose of your photo will heavily influence whether it is ultimately good or bad (i.e. whether it suits the purpose), there are a number of characteristics which are generally accepted as being important in making a good photo

  • Composition – Every photograph needs a strong underlying compositional order so that it grabs the eye from a distance. If it can’t grab your attention, it will never be an interesting photo, regardless of how many fine details it might have.
  • Content – Once a photo has caught your attention, it needs to have details to keep the eyes interested.
  • Contrast – Most (but not all) good photos have contrasting elements.  Contrast may may be represented as colours, textures, brightness or other elements of a photo which differentiate some parts of it form others. You should be able to defocus your eyes and look from a distance, and the basic organization of elements should still be obvious.
  • Focus – Most (but not all) good photos have a focus point which draws the eye and reinforces the “message” of the photo.
  • Punchline – The best images have a punchline. A punchline is what you find after you look around the image.
  • No Distractions –  Anything that isn’t directly helping the composition takes away from it

Understanding the basic elements of a Good photo is a great way to start taking Good photos, but before taking any photo you should consider the purpose of it.

Once you have determined the type of photos you want to take, have a browse through the “How to Take Photos” website to find more specific (and sometimes technical) information about techniques you can follow to take the best photo for the purpose you have chosen.



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