5 Important Factors in Amazing Photos


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The Number One Factor

Here’s the reality: I’ve seen people with REALLY nice cameras
Take some really awful pictures
And I’ve seen some really amazing pictures
Taken with a phone
And I’ve seen a lot of people
Buy “a better camera”
(or have a loving relative gift them one for Christmas)
Thinking that will help them take better pictures
(which is KINDA will, but not really)
(and by now it’s probably collecting dust in a closet somewhere)
And I’ve heard people apologize for the quality of their pictures
Blaming it on their camera/phone
And saying it’s because their camera is not as nice
And that’s why their picture is not as good?

And in my head I always say two things:
A better camera wouldn’t help sweetie” (LOL sorry but it’s true)
And: “I take the picture, not the camera

So here is the first principle:
Hold up one finger
YOU are the most important factor
YOU are the one that determines the quality of the picture
And while Photoshop and high tech cameras HELP
(And correct many mistakes)
In the end, they always come second to YOU
This finger you are holding up
Presses the button and takes the picture
And that is the most important factor there is

2. The L Factor
Remember that finger you are holding up?
(What? You aren’t still holding it up???)
Now extend your thumb as well
Now you have an L
(you did that with your Left hand right?)
The second most important factor is Lighting
Diagnosing and assessing the quality of light
Is the number one reason your pictures will be poor or amazing
It’s the difference between a picture like this:
And a picture like this:
Light should be EVEN
It should be BRIGHT
But muted at the same time
Bright light makes people look like raccoons
And it makes them squint
None of which are very attractive 🙂
A good picture should show details
You should be able to see people’s eyes
And they should have a good smile
Or at least a good look on their face
(or whatever you are going for I guess)

3. The Dual Factor:
Hold up TWO fingers
There are two reasons to take a picture:
Recording and Art
Now the problem is that too many times people mix these up
Below is an example:
This is a picture of me and my daughter Kelsey shortly after she was born
It’s blurry
It’s too dark
But yet I still have it
Because it’s the only one I have of her and I at this time
The camera I had at the time was a piece of crap
And if you didn’t prefocus it and didn’t hold deathly still
You ended up with pics like this
And this is what we ended up with
So I will always have this picture
But it’s not something I will ever hang on the wall
And it’s not something I SHOULD put on the wall either
This picture is a RECORD of this event
It’s not Art
But that’s okay.

There are two reasons for taking a picture.

The second reason we take a picture is for Art
We take it to record
But we also want this Record to be on the wall for all to see
Pictures are a poor man’s murals 🙂
So do yourself a favor
And pay attention!!!
Record Photos are whatever they are:
Records of the event, EXACTLY as it was
Art Photos though are different
Art Photos should be of the subject
Which means that it should be one step higher

One of my biggest pet peeves is this:
Cute right?
But do you see anything wrong with this picture???
If this was simply a RECORD
It’s fine as is.
But if you want to hang this on the wall
You need to pay better attention to the BACKGROUND
background 3B
If you intend your picture to be ART?
You have to think like a Professional Photographer
You have to think like an Artist
Your picture should have not have:
*Trash Cans
*Or Random People (lol)
*weird awkward spaces
In the background
Crop it closer
Edit it out
But please FIX YOUR ART
Otherwise when someone walks into your house
And there you have your HUGE family picture on the wall
They are going to tell you how cute it is
And in their head they will think:
Whose car is that there?” and
Nice Trashcan
Why the space here? Is that where the ghost is standing?”
(all things I’ve thought to myself haha)

The W Factor
In a world of a million pictures
A world where we could literally record every moment
WHY record this one?
WHAT is so interesting about it?
Is it the kids diving for candy when the pinata breaks?
Zoom4Or is it the one kid that draws your attention?
Zoom4BWHERE should you take this picture from?
If I take it here, does it really show what I thought was cute?
zoom1AOr would it be better to get closer?
Zoom1CWHEN is the best time to take it?
Does your timing matter?
RecordsThese are things you have to ask yourself
And getting it RIGHT is what will determine
If someone says WOW or WHATEVER when they look at your pictures

IMG_8014The Fifth and Final Factor:
Have you ever gone to take a picture of a group of people
And they all lean in towards each other?
Why do they do that?
They are assuming something aren’t they?
They assume the picture will be of them
And specifically of their faces
So they lean in so their faces will all be together
They ASSUME that You, the photographer, are composing the shot
And that you are not also taking a picture of the ceiling, the floor, the 10 people behind them and the table beside you
Are they assuming too much?
They probably are.
So please, next time, STOP
Take a step forward
Zoom in
Crop closer
And compose the picture right

And lastly, do us all a favor:
SToP saving everything!
Delete the ones where people have their eyes closed
Delete the blurry ones
Delete the ones where people are making goofy faces
(Or save them for blackmailing later)
Click on auto-correct
We do not use film anymore
You can delete pictures folks
It’s okay
Delete delete delete
Your posterity will thank you for culling the herd

I read once in a photo tutorial
(And this is from the film days)
That if you save more than 2 good pics from a roll of film
You aren’t editing very well.

How many pics do you need of your granddaughter blowing out her candles?

(One good one that is)


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