5 Ingredients for a Great Photo

When it comes to taking pictures, I’ve found that there a few ingredients that can make the difference between any photo being ok and being amazing. Here are a few tips on how to take your pictures to the next level.


Although you may see certain things one way in the natural world, your camera see’s things completely different. When taking a photo its important to make sure you establish balance within the three main components needed to take a photo; iso, aperture and shutter speed. Your Iso is basically how much additional light you’re adding to the pot to make a great photo. Your aperture is how much of your camera’s “eye” are you opening up to receive light in the first place and your shutter speed is how fast or slow you are allowing the camera to capture that light. These all play vital parts in making sure you capture what the eye sees, through your camera.

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Good lighting can make an image more dramatic, can create mood and set up memories. It is important to make sure you pay attention to your white balance and the shadows created within the photo in order to portray the mood and look you’re going for with what you’re capturing.


When it comes to composition, this has everything to do with two things; placement and spacing. How the people in the photo are positioned, what angle you are capturing whatever you’re capturing and how the people or objects in the photo are related to each other whether by coloration, spacing, attitude or meaning. When capturing a photo, you would definitely want to be considerate of the spacing of the photo in other words utilizing “the rule of thirds” which is a rule in composition where the guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. Making sure the image has a focal point in drawing attention to what you want to be seen in the photo. If the photo is just a general shot with no focus and central point, it will be a little harder for your audience to get a sense of what you are capturing. This creates more tension, energy and interest to your photo.

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Just like real estate, the most important thing to taking a photo is location, location, location. When taking a photo, along with composition and lighting, the background and location are essential to what makes the photo so great. A white wall is alright to take a photo on but what about a destination spot? what about an art mural? What about the middle of the sea?!! Ok, maybe not the middle of the sea but you get the idea. When it comes to an image, the viewer notices more than the focal point itself. Myself personally, I analyze the entire photo, take it all in, try to picture what the photographer saw through my own eyes. With that comes with looking at the background and taking account of how it adds or takes away from the photo. Thats why its always important to make sure your background is giving the specific look you are looking to capture with your photo.


Color comes in a two part series; actual color and white balance. When taking a photo, it is important to point out exactly what you are trying to capture, the color or the actual subject? When I take certain photos I always ask myself what I want the person to see, the color or the actual subject. Certain images I will process in black and white since I want the viewer to see the moment and then other images I put in color to show off techniques with coloration and lighting. No matter what it is, always make sure to find that balance between whether to have things in color or black and white to accurately capture and present what you want the viewer to see through your eyes.


Outside of everything else, this is the most important component to taking amazing photos. The moment, the timing, the place, are the most important components to taking a photo. Capturing a great photo takes the skill of having that eye to take that moment, whatever moment that is and capturing it through your eyes. Moments although they are literally milliseconds, even less, are what tell the stories. These are the pieces of your artistic history that make photography what it is. Having an eye for looking out for these moments and seeing the value in them are essential to what makes great photography and excellent photos. As a photographer, keeping a keen eye out for tiny moments in life are what separate good and great photos.

If you guys have any other input on what you believe makes a great photo be sure to leave them in the comments!

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