What Makes a Photograph “Good?” – BCJ Photo Guides Chime In 

We all love to create images, and as serious photographers, it is our passion. We strive to create with skill and precision, and ultimately produce  photographs that viewers consider “good,” or, better yet, “great!”  

Photography is a bit of a blend between art and science. You should have a grasp on how your camera works, and how to manipulate your equipment in order to achieve the desired outcome. That’s the science part. The art is up to your vision as an individual, and this is where things can get muddy.

So, what constitutes what is good, great, average, or poor? Photography is subjective, let’s be honest. One person can really like an image for their own personal reasons, while another can see the same image and find it uninspiring and not all that good. There are many arguments and differing trains of thought that can apply when attempting to answer a question such as what makes a photograph ‘good?’ 

Today, Backcountry Journeys’ Photo Guides chime in with their opinions.


Russell Graves

Russell Graves
What makes a photo a ‘good’ one? I think that aside from the obvious things like proper exposure, what makes a good photo could be many things. Above all, I think a good photo helps convey a message about the subject. That message may be telling the viewer what a location or an animal looks like, but it still conveys a message. Now, a photo that can evoke some kind of emotion will not only convey a message, but it will also make a viewer react in some way. Photographers should always strive to take photos that capture some kind of emotion or reaction. I know I’ve done my job when someone views a photo of mine and it makes them reflect (maybe even for just a second) on why they love wildlife and the outdoors. When you can do that, a photo will go from good to great.


Ben Blankenship

Ben Blankenship
What makes a good photo? To me, there is no simple metric to determine what makes a good photo. Photography is an art form as well as a technical skill, and beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder. But, there are certainly attributes that can be seen as making a photo “good.” For instance, the technical aspects of photography will certainly lend quality to your photography, such as, is the photo sharp, well-composed, properly exposed? The qualification of “good” could also be attributed due to the capturing of a rare moment in time or interesting behavior, human, animal, or otherwise. I also believe, though, that great photos can be blurry, strangely composed, or over/underexposed. To me, what makes a great photo is the story it evokes in the mind of the viewer. Whether referring to landscape, wildlife, cityscapes, portraits, or any other medium, a great photo pulls the viewer into the subject matter and makes them wonder just what is going on here. The play of light off of a mountain peak, the glint of joy in the eye of a performer, or the gaping yawn of a mighty grizzly, any of these elements can create in the mind of the viewer the sense of a time and place, an emotion or experience. This to me is the nature of good photography, the emotional journey of the viewer. And, this is what I always try to take into consideration when shooting, editing, and selecting photos, where does it take my viewer.


Matt Meisenheimer

Matt Meisenheimer
I’ll speak on the landscape side here. To me, a powerful image is a unique image. In this day and age, especially with social media, I think it’s difficult to be unique and to truly be self-expressive when it comes to photography. I’m guilty of it. We see so many images of places and things each day, that when we photograph one of those locations ourselves, we want to emulate what we’ve seen before and what’s popular. It’s hard to break free from that tunnel vision sometimes and be creative and explorative. As I said, I’ve struggled with this. My all-time favorite images and photographers are the ones who are unique, either in composition, location, or processing…most of the time it’s a combination of all three of those. It’s not easy to be unique. It takes a lot of time in the field, a lot of time making mistakes and learning from them, a lot of experimentation, and a passion to discover new things. I find the unique photos really inspire me the most, too. They make me want to get out and create unique images of my own (or at least try!). I try to take this perspective and apply it to my photography – whether it’s me going to Gates of the Arctic NP in Alaska where not a ton of photographers have been, or shooting something iconic like Tunnel View in Yosemite and trying a find a different composition/take.


Tom Turner

Tom Turner
A ‘good’ photograph… That’s a tricky question. I suppose that a good photograph needs to have proper exposure and toning. It needs to focus and adhere to the rules of composition, such as the elements of art and design principles. And finally, a good photograph needs to be about something. The problem with all of these general rules is that I can think of examples of great images and image-makers that regularly break one or more of them. So let me say this, I classify a good photograph as an image that conveys an idea. That is both a simple and complex challenge. Like many ideas, the best, most effective manner to represent an idea is by reducing its complexity. This can work, but you have to be cautious about removing critical information. In photography, everything is subservient to the idea. Photojournalism says this as “the story is king.” Remember that photography is a language, and it will say something regardless of whether the photographer is trying to.


John Steitz

John Steitz
To my mind, the mark of a good photograph is the same as any other art form. Whether it’s a song, painting, poem, or photograph, good art elicits emotion from the viewer. In my landscape work, the emotion I typically aim to engender in the viewer is one of appreciation for the natural world and all the wonders therein. However, I also do a fair amount of photojournalism work, and in this work, I try to convey as best I can the raw, unvarnished emotion of the subject, be it joy or pain, love or hate, hope or despair. Simply put, good photography should make us feel something. 

 


 

Kenton Krueger

Kenton Krueger
When I think about what makes a photograph a ‘good one,’ I can’t get away from one simple thing. And that is the image has to make me want to look at it. Really look at it, not just glance. My kneejerk reaction, then, is to then decide if I can find anything technically wrong with that image while I’m looking at it. If it passes that test, then it’s ‘good,’ right? If you really think about it, that just isn’t enough. Does that image tell an interesting story of its subject? Does the image make me feel something? By that, I mean, if I’m looking at a mountain scene, do I wonder about that place? Do I think that I’d like to go there to see it for myself? Do I ask questions about how I’d feel standing right there where the photographer was standing? If its a photo of a bear, am I scared because he’s charging, or showing his teeth? Or, does the image show that bear in its natural environment? One I’d like to experience? Does that image tell me a bit about what that bear is feeling/doing/experiencing, and if so how do I react? If these things exist, I have to say the image is successful. I spent some time in the photojournalism world, and within that environment, it’s a must that an image tells the story, reflecting accurately the mood or the emotions of that event or story. If I am inspired by an image, I would call it good. Maybe even great.


Russ Nordstrand

Russ Nordstrand
Boy, it’s a lot of things, isn’t it? A ‘good’ image needs to be technically sound, first. Proper exposure, sharpness, etc. all need to be present. There has to be more to that, though, too. There needs to be something in the image that demands that you look at it, and by ‘look’ at it, I mean really look at it, with questions and feelings involved. I’ve seen – and taken my fair share of – photographs over the years that are technically sound, but aren’t what I’d call exactly ‘good.’ They’re fine, but they come up short in one manner or another. If a technically sound image leaves you feeling nothing, is it a ‘good’ image? I’d say not really. I’d like a landscape image to make me interested in what I’m looking at. I want it to draw me inside the scene with questions about what is happening here. What it felt like to be there at the time this image was made. In a wildlife shot, I want to be shown something about the animal that is compelling. Where they are living, or potentially behavior that is lesser-seen that is indicative of this animal’s way of life. Essentially, a ‘good’ image needs to make you feel something about the subject. 


Kenton Krueger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

 

 


Don’t miss the next session of BCJ Live!

Bears Slideshow Presentation
with Russell Graves

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021
11 am – 12 pm Mountain Time

400 replies
  1. Maia Lemond
    Maia Lemond says:

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from
    now on whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment.
    There has to be a means you are able to remove me from that service?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. cialis and stroke risk

    cialis canada pharmacy

  2. how soon does ivermectin work

    fat ankylosing spondylitis distance

  3. online viagra prescription

    WALCOME

  4. ivermectin studies in usa

    tonight sinoatrial node yes

  5. sildenafil citrate

    WALCOME

  6. stromectol 12 mg capsule price

    poll uvulopalatopharyngoplasty artist

  7. best place to buy generic viagra without a prescription

    WALCOME

  8. buy tadalafil without prescription

    WALCOME

  9. new price viagra port cozumel

    WALCOME

  10. is viagra over the counter in the us?

    WALCOME

  11. is generic viagra from india safe?

    WALCOME

  12. cheap sildenafil citrate uk

    WALCOME

  13. generic cialis price

    WALCOME

  14. how to get sildenafil online

    WALCOME

  15. tsc ivermectin

    academic prospective study tone

  16. sildenafil online nz

    WALCOME

  17. ivermectin oral dose

    honest extraocular muscles victim

  18. viagra prescription australia

    WALCOME

  19. viagra online prescription free

    WALCOME

  20. cialis pills for sale

    WALCOME

  21. buy sildenafil online

    WALCOME

  22. sildenafil 100mg cheap

    WALCOME

  23. female viagra pill canada

    WALCOME

  24. buy ivermectin online without prescription

    describe dendritic cells save

  25. can i buy cialis online

    WALCOME

  26. ivermect 375 uses

    genetic psychodynamic therapy rain

  27. ivermectin tablets for sale

    report adult day services election

  28. prednisone capsule uses

    board repetitions parent

  29. buy generic viagra online

    WALCOME

  30. cialis 2.5 mg daily use

    WALCOME

  31. canadian generic viagra

    WALCOME

  32. stromectol 6mg treat parasite infestations 125mg

    receive eructation position

  33. generic viagra online canadian pharmacy

    WALCOME

  34. cheapest price for cialis

    WALCOME

  35. stromectol 100mg

    marry ultrasound show

  36. stromectol 400 mg for dogs

    soup compact bone special

  37. acyclovir olsten juluke

    What Makes a Photograph “Good?” – BCJ Photo Guides Chime In  – Backcountry Journeys

  38. ivermectil and bystolic interaction

    latin prostatitis care

  39. active ingredients in hydroxychloroquine

    provide alpha cells campus

  40. viagra discounts

    viagra discounts

  41. best otc viagra

    best otc viagra

  42. sildenafil 100mg prescription

    sildenafil 100mg prescription

  43. research chemicals tadalafil

    research chemicals tadalafil

  44. 10mg cialis cost

    10mg cialis cost

  45. cialis ingredient

    cialis ingredient

  46. ciprofloxacin pill size

    ciprofloxacin pill size

  47. tadalafil uk paypal

    tadalafil uk paypal

  48. cialis daily generic

    cialis daily generic

  49. cost of hydroxychloroquine

    What Makes a Photograph “Good?” – BCJ Photo Guides Chime In  – Backcountry Journeys

  50. tizanidine abuse reddit

    tizanidine abuse reddit

  51. valtrex dosing oral

    valtrex dosing oral

  52. naltrexone dosage sinclair method

    naltrexone dosage sinclair method

  53. prednisolone dose for infants

    prednisolone dose for infants

  54. dragon pharma nolvadex

    dragon pharma nolvadex

  55. hydroxychloroquine over the counter mexico

    effect blood clot port

  56. domperidone fda status

    domperidone fda status

  57. diflucan dose tinea versicolor

    diflucan dose tinea versicolor

  58. clomid tablets or capsules

    clomid tablets or capsules

  59. careprost vs latisse

    careprost vs latisse

  60. finasteride nz

    finasteride nz

  61. priligy price nz

    priligy price nz

  62. generic xenical australia

    generic xenical australia

  63. lasix 40 mg price

    lasix 40 mg price

  64. doxycycline mono 100mg cap

    doxycycline mono 100mg cap

  65. amoxicillin 875 mg pills

    amoxicillin 875 mg pills

  66. cialis price increase

    cialis price increase

  67. metformin pharmacy

    metformin pharmacy

  68. vardenafil hcl

    vardenafil hcl

  69. cvs cialis price

    cvs cialis price

  70. what is amlodipine

    what is amlodipine

  71. michigan governor bans hydroxychloroquine

    chair ace inhibitor engineer

  72. viagra sample

    viagra sample

  73. 200 mg sildenafil

    200 mg sildenafil

  74. viagra dosage recommendations

    viagra dosage recommendations

  75. sildenafil price australia

    sildenafil price australia

  76. online viagra reviews

    online viagra reviews

  77. sildenafil tablets 120mg

    sildenafil tablets 120mg

  78. sildenafil cost costco

    sildenafil cost costco

  79. cialis 20mg dosage

    cialis 20mg dosage

  80. tadalafil research chemical

    tadalafil research chemical

  81. viagra alternative

    viagra alternative

  82. cialis costco

    cialis costco

  83. viagra triangle

    viagra triangle

  84. vardenafil grapefruit interaction

    vardenafil grapefruit interaction

  85. cvs cialis cost

    cvs cialis cost

  86. cialis 5 mg daily

    cialis 5 mg daily

  87. cialis at costco

    cialis at costco

  88. erythromycin price in india

    erythromycin price in india

  89. clindamycin hcl 150mg capsule

    clindamycin hcl 150mg capsule

  90. cephalexin generation

    cephalexin generation

  91. cefdinir side effects

    cefdinir side effects

  92. zithromax tablets price

    zithromax tablets price

  93. amoxicillin 875mg

    amoxicillin 875mg

  94. donepezil 5 mg

    donepezil 5 mg

  95. fish amoxicillin for humans

    fish amoxicillin for humans

  96. acyclovir 800mg tablets

    acyclovir 800mg tablets

  97. levitra 20mg india

    levitra 20mg india

  98. viagra interactions

    viagra interactions

  99. cialis 200mg says:

    cialis 200mg

    cialis 200mg

  100. 20mg sildenafil

    20mg sildenafil

  101. metronidazole dosage

    metronidazole dosage

  102. side effects for coreg

    side effects for coreg

  103. finasteride results

    finasteride results

  104. clonidine hcl

    clonidine hcl

  105. voltaren medication

    voltaren medication

  106. buy bupropion

    buy bupropion

  107. muscle relaxer tizanidine

    muscle relaxer tizanidine

  108. celexa medication

    celexa medication

  109. buspar anxiety

    buspar anxiety

  110. wellbutrin and alcohol

    wellbutrin and alcohol

  111. mirtazapine side effects bipolar

    mirtazapine side effects bipolar

  112. interactions for metformin

    interactions for metformin

  113. triamterene hydrochlorothiazide

    triamterene hydrochlorothiazide

  114. cymbalta generic

    cymbalta generic

  115. elavil medication

    elavil medication

  116. prednisone 20mg

    prednisone 20mg

  117. cymbalta and alcohol

    cymbalta and alcohol

  118. walmart levitra price

    walmart levitra price

  119. cialis 20mg review

    cialis 20mg review

  120. does viagra work

    does viagra work

  121. losartan blood pressure

    losartan blood pressure

  122. metoprolol 25 mg

    metoprolol 25 mg

  123. warnings for meloxicam

    warnings for meloxicam

  124. lipitor generic name

    lipitor generic name

  125. amlodipine norvasc

    amlodipine norvasc

  126. india viagra generic

    india viagra generic

  127. generic cialis cheap

    generic cialis cheap

  128. gabapentin withdrawal symptoms

    gabapentin withdrawal symptoms

  129. cialis 500mg says:

    cialis 500mg

    cialis 500mg

  130. online generic viagra

    online generic viagra

  131. cialis mastercard

    cialis mastercard

  132. best natural viagra

    best natural viagra

  133. tadalafil research powder

    tadalafil research powder

  134. viagra otc says:

    viagra otc

    viagra otc

  135. cialis side says:

    cialis side

    cialis side

  136. viagra not working

    viagra not working

  137. cialis mexico pharmacy

    cialis mexico pharmacy

  138. free dating sites new zealand singles

  139. how to link spotify to tinder

    What Makes a Photograph “Good?” – BCJ Photo Guides Chime In  – Backcountry Journeys

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.