Just like any art, photography can be looked at subjectively and seen as “good” by any one person. However, there are a few things, devices, and techniques that can be looked for that make an objectively “good” photo.
Some of these devices we see that make a good photo include things like; leading lines (something to draw your eye around the frame), the rule of thirds (the positioning of main subjects on a grid in the frame), texture, use of focus to draw attention specifically, etc. etc.
For this post, I’ve attempted to capture five images that represent these devices and utilize them to make the best photos I can.
This first image, Standing Alone was captured near Centennial Wyoming on a chilly, sunny February Saturday. A basic image at first glance, as we look closer there are a couple of creative devices of photography at play here. The dominant in this photo is most clearly the use of focus. The close focus on the lone branch extending provides an ambiguous background than makes the subject stand out. With the combination of the rule-of-thirds device, this image creates depth and forces the viewer to see the main subject of the frame.
This shot Word of Warning, has a few simple devices at play. The most dominant is the rule of thirds, with the right third including the sign, and the left fading into the mountain creating a sense of depth at the same time. Some other factors that are not as obvious are the use of leading lines, with the barbed wire leading out of the sign and drawing attention to the mountains.
This photo, Abandoned, was tough to not only capture, but also to identify the use of creative devices. I saw this barn while driving, and pulled over at the next closest available spot, about a half a mile down the road. I then had to walk up the icy highway, camera in tow, to capture this. By then, my mind was focused on getting out of the stiff wind, and I wasn’t able to fully think through the devices. However, after looking, I realized there are naturally a few at play here. The most dominant being contrast. The contrast between the dark green in the trees, and the bight white in the fresh, untouched snow. Another device that really adds to the image are the leading lines on the right side of the frame, the highway specifically. It leads your eye to the barn and then mysteriously vanishes around a steep, snow covered hill.
This is a curious shot. Entitled, Jungle in a Room, because of it’s capture location. The UW conservatory provides a home to many plant life, including the feature draping across some freshly soaked rocks. Creative devices at play here are the rule of thirds, and some slight framing with the green plants surrounding the deep blacks of the rocks. That contrast is the most dominant element in this photo. The light green colors are accentuated by the shimmering blacks nearby. It provides the eye with an easy subject to focus on.
The device at play in Prickly Pines should be an obvious one. Texture is at the forefront of this image. As mentioned before the UW Conservatory offers a home to many varieties of floral life. This little guy was planted, and forgotten at the base of a much larger cactus. The close focus of this image does not provide much detail to its surroundings creating an element of mystery and keeping viewers interested in a seemingly basic image.
This assignment was challenging in the way that it is very difficult for me to write about a particular photo. This was surprising after taking photography classes in the past, and learning early in this semester the specific creative devices to look out for.