What makes a good photograph?
The tough thing here is that everyone’s opinion on what makes a good photograph is different. A windy, wet landscape is a masterpiece for one person but just plain bad weather to someone else. An un-retouched portrait is realism and documentary to some, and an opportunity for extensive retouching to others (and maybe the subject too…). So when you’re taking your photos, a degree of self-belief is important.
Many people have a camera on them every day – on their phone – so everyone knows how to ‘point and click’. As a result, what makes a good photograph is everyone’s personal taste, but in terms of quality (and winning Shine prizes) it really comes down to composition. You can find all kinds of useful guides to composition online.
As a starting point, we liked this article on TechRadar.
Reportage or art?
Shine is interested in photographs that are either journalism or an artistic statement.
A news photograph needs to accompany an article and provide impact in a way that words cannot, adding clarity to the points being made. Perhaps someone has triumphed, failed, been hurt, or retiring? Be sure to tell these stories sensitively and carefully. Always remember that you’re impartial: a journalist and observer, looking from the outside in. This article explains more about this topic:
How to get the best result from even a simple camera
We appreciate that you may not have access to expensive camera equipment. However some of the best photographs can be taken with a phone… and they’re certainly of sufficient resolution to print in your publications.
So don’t let the equipment you’re using diminish your enthusiasm. Needless to say though, if you have an good quality digital camera or SLR you’re going to get a result of a different kind.
What sort of photograph is going to be right for my publication?
From an artistic perspective, this is really a topic for you and your team. As mentioned earlier, a theme (for instance, all black and white; all reportage; all mood-led artistic shots) could work well depending on the tone and subject matter of your entry and affect the overall look of the publication positively.
A few final thoughts…
Maybe the best ideas are under your nose. Before going too far afield, look around at the places you know well and see if you can capture something of your everyday life with your camera. It will inevitably feel authentic.
Consider a trip to a closed down factory, newly finished building, National Trust property or public park. Is there a story to be told? Some detail or beautiful object that inspires you? It’s these images, personal and carefully considered, that make great photography.
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