What Makes A Great Image?

A few editors of National Geographic sat down to talk about a few of their favorite images. What is it that makes an image memorable and interesting? Most everyone said it was something they have never seen before. Some fields of photography don't have to be ground breaking but if you want to take your own images to the next level try to imagine shooting something you have never seen published before. I'm afraid too many photographers get wrapped up in the lighting, gear, location, and very picky details. Before you even pull out your camera, think to yourself, "what have I not seen done before?" Obviously this video applies mainly to naturally occurring events in nature but I think the same principles can be applied to planned shoots. What do you guys think?

Log in or register to post comments


It sure applies to planned shoot. Before you pick up the camera, sit for a minute or two and think hard : what have you never seen that you're craving to see ? Be it a high fashion Santa Claus, some glamourous old ladies or a fat Disney princess, Google it, look for it. It's not out there ? Go create it !

If you want to find out if your image is a good one or not try using ACQUINE. It is a program developed here at Penn State that rates your image based on aesthetic quality and gives a score. Its a pretty accurate program. It has been featured on the BBC and Penn State Research magazine.


I wonder how many photographers sit and wonder that question. I feel that most come in with a particular shot in their mind that they want to get and often end up ignoring the shot they haven't seen before. It's the great photographers that are open to these moments and shoot them when they happen.