When I started taking pictures, I took pictures of nearly anything in sight. These were flowers, doors and windows, even street signs. Such things typically would not peak my interest if I did not have a camera but I thought that is what I was supposed to do if I had a big camera and something was in front of me.
After a year or two of this, I stopped my shooting spree. Now I don’t shoot as much but I’m always looking for the right shot. The trick is recognizing it and being ready for that shot once it comes together. For that reason, being a photographer forces me to pay attention to things most people may take for granted, or do not even notice.
I’ve come to define a good photograph as one that tells a story that triggers some sort of emotion.
Today we are bombarded with so much imagery online that our most common response to any photograph is indifference. It takes a truly good photo to catch someone’s attention and triggering some sort of emotion. This can be by wowing through its sheer beauty, surprising using an unusual view, or bringing happiness or sadness. Such a photograph does not need to be technically perfect with exact focus or exposure and optimal lighting yet all of these can help. If the photo tells a story that triggers an emotional response, it will be memorable and therefore successful.
However, this does not excuse the photographer of not understanding the technicalities of the art. A good photographer knows how to select the correct shutter, aperture, ISO setting, white balance, etc…as much as is able to recognize a good shot. Good photographs put their viewer in a particular moment through artful selection of the proper lighting and camera settings, and tell a story by doing so.