Friday, December 26, 2008
What makes a great image?
If you ask 100 people you are going to get 100 answers. It is most definitely a personal choice but there has to be something that can be found in great images. Something that, whatever your point of view, demands the viewer's attention and makes you look at the image again.
Various dimensions like technical quality, composition and other photographic 'rules' can be thrown around but is it truly possible to place a series of criteria and regulations as to what ultimately makes a great image? I don't think so.
A great image should excite you. A great image demands a second look. A great image should capture the essence of the moment which can then be seen and felt by the viewer. A great image will still be a great image in 20 years. In 100 years. If you as the photographer can moved past the point where you worry about mastering technique and your equipment you are in a position to finally start creating great images. Images that you see in your mind before clicking the shutter.
Wildlife photography is no different. My initial idea was to, for this final High Five post of 2008, go through the images on the Photo-Africa Stock Library and choose a Top Ten of sorts. Obviously I was very optimistic as I have not even gotten through a quarter of the images.
Instead I went to the Most Popular images, based on amount of views on the site, and chose ten images from there to feature in this post. As I was looking through the small thumbnails I chose the images that, even as a small preview, caught my attention. Isn't that what it is all about? For an image to catch your gaze no matter what the size?
I don't think all the images on the Most Popular page are great images. In my opinion some of them are pretty ordinary but people's preferences differ. A good image to me might be a masterwork to you. A great image surely then has to be the one that, no matter what your background, preference or mood, stands out and demands your attention.
So as the final High Five of the year, here are in no particular order a number of great images that have been uploaded to Photo-Africa during 2008.
These images are all very different but great in their own way. Have a look at each images and choose only one word to describe it. Passion. Tension. Power. Beauty. If you can do this I believe an image has what it takes to be 'great'.
At the end of the day beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If your vision is true to yourself great images will create themselves. Shoot with your mood. Shoot with your feelings. Shoot like you want to and you are on your way to create great images.
During January I will work my way through the images on the Stock Site and post my real Top Ten for 2008. For now you can visit the following two links to view the ever-growing database of African Wildlife and Nature Photographs on the Stock Site. Even during the festive season more than 100 new images have been added. Absolutely 'great' stuff rolling in!
What do you think makes a great image? Is it just one thing?
As always I look forward to hearing from you!
Until next time.
Posted by Photo-Africa at 3:18 PM