Wedding Photography in Ghajnsielem Gozo, Malta - Anaca Photography - What makes a great photo?

What makes a great photo?

Beauty is the eye of the beholder. And the fact is that it's true! While there is no universal standard to what a beautiful photo is, there is a common, informal one. These principles are what we believe, the photography community, that is crucial to a good photo.  Some rules and principles are even supported by studies and research.

For me, I believe that a great photo is one that leaves you awestruck and admiring the beauty of the subject, regardless of the photo was properly shot or not. There are nevertheless some ways where a photo is more pleasing to the viewer. This incorporates principles such as exposure and composition. The list goes on forever but here are some that we try to focus on:

The histogram for the hero photo of this post.


The exposure is what makes the photo. The settings that the photograph was taken with: how long was the shutter open, how was the focus and so forth. With the exposure, we try to achieve a perfect balance between the Shadows (the dark part of the pictures) and the Highlights (the bright parts of the image). There shouldn't be a lot of extreme shadows or extreme highlights, just a lot of in-between.


While you do not give Colour much thought, your brain does. The colour harmony, or how the colours go together in the pic, is very important. It makes or breaks a photo. A warm colour temperature makes the picture more welcoming and lovely. While a cold temperature makes the subject appear more direct and serious. I only do a black and white photo when I would like to highlight the texture or when the colours are distracting from the main subject.

The rule of thirds being used on the hero shot. Notice how the important parts were placed on the intersections of the lines.


The composition is the way the angle of the photo is shot, the framing. What's where in the photograph. There are certain rules such as the 'Rule of Third' and the 'Golden Spiral' that make a photo more pleasing to the eye. Personally, my favourite 'rule' of framing is Symmetry. Great symmetry symbolizes that the moment the photo was taken, everything was perfect.


One of the most important aspects of a photo is the Subject or what's in it. While a photographer usually cannot alter the subject, good photographers know how to work around a subject. For example, know some poses and angles that make the body appear thinner or an angle that makes your face appear more streamlined.

There are a lot more of ways we can work to further increase the quality of the photo. A great photograph is a perfect dance between planning and improvisation, and a great photographer is one that is always ready and preparing for the performance. Summing-up, a good photo doesn't depend on the camera, lens or software, but on the photographer behind the camera and his know-how.

If you would like to discuss what great images you want at your Wedding or Event, contact us. I am sure that our creative and determined team will be able to one-up your idea, making it crazier and more beautiful!

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