The 3 Ingredients for a Great Photo.


I used to wonder why my photos looked like crap.

Now I understand.

Bad light, wrong moment, horrible composition.

Those three things will make or break your photos.

Light.

Your camera doesn't see light like your eyes do. That's why your photos rarely look as nice as what your eye saw.

Photographers often refer to good light and bad light. But there is really no such thing as good and bad light. You take the light you're given and decide what to do with it. Or you move around and find the light that you want.

Photographers also talk about hard and soft light. Hard light is like the sun in the afternoon. It's bright and cast sharp shadows. A cloudy day produces soft light, and you can't really tell where the shadows are.

It's easy to be inspired by all those photos you see on Pinterest. But not so easy to make your own!

Those beautiful apple blossom photos that you see were likely taken in the soft evening light. If you take your version of that photo in the middle of the afternoon, don't be surprised if it doesn't look so great.


This photo was taken outdoors in the soft evening light. The right side of the photo is a tiny bit brighter, but no harsh shadows can be seen.

Moment.

Even more important than light, or anything, is the moment.

The moment is everything!

Shedding beautiful light on a dull moment is useless. How many photos of your kids do you have with a stunned look on their face? Or the photo is blurry? Or their back is suddenly turned? Or, you thought they were doing something super cute, but now you're wondering why you even took the picture? What was this supposed to be a picture of?

Some moments last a few minutes, others just a microsecond.

Some moments need other moments to explain them; and they become stories. Stories of mischief, or love, or excitement.

The moment is everything in a photo.


We all know what it's like to lose our balance. You can practically feel it when you look at this photo! The moment happened quickly. It's hard to say looking at the photo whether she caught her balance or not.

Composition.

Your photos, even your everyday photos, become little works of art when you master composition.

Your foreground and background changes the feel of the photo.

The angle you choose adds to the emotion.

Your composition helps to tell the story.


This school bus photo is one of my favorites. The light is coming from behind the buses, and is nice and soft. Yes, there are some hard shadows on the ground, but not on the buses or the children. I chose a lower angle to get down to the level of the kids so that we could see their excitement. I made sure to include the buses in the background to set the scene. A fleeting moment, preserved.

It's exciting when light, moment, and composition come together in one photo!

Light. Moment. Composition.

Use these three ingredients to make your photos beautiful and share-worthy for generations.

I help parents learn how to use their camera to start telling their family story. Click here to find out more about my workshops and one-on-one lessons.