Great Images & Emotion

What are the elements of image making?

  1. Craftsmanship (for a photo – exposure, focus, color, printing….)
  2. Composition (aesthetically pleasing – usually)
  3. Creativity (not the same as everyone else’s)
  4. Communication – (tell a story; Emotion -“Does it sing to me?”)


These are the elements that enter into making any two dimensional image – photo, painting, drawing, whatever

  • In fact, a photo & a painting really differ only in #1 above –

The “tools of the trade” such as brush vs. camera

  • There is more to be learned about making a great photo from books on art than photo books

Even a monkey can accomplish #1 (and has)

Using your camera should be instinctive; practice, practice, ….

#2-#4 are the hard parts – this is where art study comes in, from the old masters to the new

I listed the four elements (they are this blog’s subtitle, by the way) in the order shown because that’s the order they are normally encountered – at least when learning to do photography or any other 2-dimensional art form.

  • It is also the usual order (or should be) when doing a critique of an image –

whether someone else’s or your own,

you should critique your own work regularly

  • However, the listed order is exactly opposite from that which should be taken when making an image.

The following quote almost says it all

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.   — Paul Cezanne

The other half of the bookend pair to go along with Cezanne’s quote is –

What’s the last step in taking a photo? It’s when you press the shutter release, the culmination of the craftsmanship step.

So there it is – start with #4 and end with #1 to make a great image (art??)

Here are the final two sentences from this article. They send the same message as my start with emotion recommendation.

Let’s put the emphasis on our vision first, and allow the rest, even the idea of a good picture, to flow from that one fundamental fact— the exploration of the question of how we see the world. The pictures that grow from this place; these are the pictures that matter.


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