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09-07-2018, 10:57 AM - 1 Like   #1
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What is important for a great photo?

What do you think is really important in photography (ignoring hobbyism, geekery, GAS an similar mental aspects) for great photos?
For those images that you would hang on your wall in large print.

How do you rank the following:
  • Lens gear (compared only to other lenses of same focal length and aperture and other fundamental technical aspects e.g. macro for macro use)
  • Camera gear with all features it gives to do the right capture
  • Quality of existing natural light
  • Artifical supporting light gear (flash etc)
  • Choice of subject and its aesthetics itself
  • Framing, perspective, the right moment
  • Software image manipulation ("postprocessing")
  • Technical aspects of the final "raw" image (pixel peeing sharpness, dynamic range, noise etc)
My opinion as a starter:
  1. Choice of subject and its aesthetics itself - 51%
  2. Framing, perspective, the right moment - 25%
  3. Quality of existing natural light - 15%
  4. Camera gear with all features it gives to do the right capture - 3%
  5. Lens gear (compared only to other lenses of same focal length and aperture) - 2%
  6. Software image manipulation ("postprocessing") - 2%
  7. Artifical supporting light gear (flash etc) - 1%
  8. "Image quality" : Technical aspects of the final "raw" image (pixel peeing sharpness, dynamic range, noise etc) - 1%
Please keep to the generic question and do not argue with special interest cases like astrophotography or similar topics and exceptions. Lets focus on the mainstream interests of the majority here (referring to the survey): landscape, travel, macro, flowers, portrait.

09-07-2018, 11:02 AM - 4 Likes   #2
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Being there is the most important by far. The rest is relish.
09-07-2018, 11:04 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by victormeldrew Quote
Being there is the most important by far. The rest is relish.


Ok, I could add "exist" to the list.
09-07-2018, 11:16 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Being there and having a camera at hand.


Steve

09-07-2018, 11:35 AM   #5
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Being in the right frame of mind ...
09-07-2018, 11:44 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Being there and having a camera at hand.
More seriously, Flickr feels that the image below is the most "interesting" of 1700 or so photos I have posted there...



...Not my first choice, BTW.

All of the below (equally weighted) were essential for producing the final product:
  • Being there. In this case, it meant getting up before sunrise in the winter and hiking frozen ground on a cliff-side trail several miles to the falls.
  • Camera/lens capable of the capture (In all honesty, my Kiev 4A/Helios 103 53/2 with Ektar 100 loaded could have done as well.)
  • Tripod (1/20s for motion blur)
  • A certain amount of skill and experience
  • Access to post-exposure tools capable of extracting and massaging the capture into the image originally conceived. (Yes, there was PP, but not as much as might be thought.)
  • The nerve to trust a truly clumsy tripod position where failure would have meant watching it all free-fall a looonnnnnngggg way to the bottom where retrieval would have meant serious rope work
The same is true (minus the sketchy tripod setup) for any of the images I have shared here or on Flickr as well as any that are printed and framed and are hanging various places around the country..


Steve

BTW: Yes, that is the same waterfall/grotto used by DPReview for their evaluation of the K-1 Pixel Shift feature. I had the advantage of shooting in Winter when the early fog is a reliable feature and when the light comes from this angle and when there is far less foliage. Their shot is technically good and "safe". I like mine better Sadly, this area was at the epicenter of last year's fires and was reportedly reduced to gray ash in its entirety. This trail remains closed due to hazard of slides and rockfall.

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-07-2018 at 12:02 PM. Reason: completeness
09-07-2018, 11:47 AM   #7
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It's hard for me to separate light by natural and supporting. Not even sure how to define it. Is a reflector natural because moonlight is a reflector. Can a street scene at night light by neon signs be considered natural for the environment?
I would say op's 2 and 3 could switch from shot to shot.
09-07-2018, 12:13 PM - 4 Likes   #8
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To my eye, a lot of potentially great photos are too easily made less-than-great in a lot of ways. Mediocrity is easy, greatness is hard. Thus, I don't think in percentages as much as prerequisites on a bunch of dimensions:

* the subject must be great enough
* the framing must be great enough
* the timing must be great enough
* the lighting must be great enough
* the lens resolution must be high enough
* the camera resolution & DR must be high enough

Aside from journalistic photos of iconic events where even a polaroid snapshot with the bad lighting is still powerful documentation of history-in-the-making, all great photos must meet high standards on a lot of both technical and aesthetic dimensions.

09-07-2018, 12:14 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Content is by far the most important. A blurry picture or shaky video of a once in a life world event is still better than an average shot of your cat on the back of the sofa.

Composition is probably next.

After that in a very close (almost tie for second place) would be lighting.

"Gear" doesn't make the list at least not at this point.
09-07-2018, 12:30 PM   #10
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What is important for a great photo?

Probably this is not the exact contribution here, but all of what was listed (and quite some more) is important for a "great photo" could be made, or... as Ansel Adams so well as put it, “You don't take a photograph, you make it.”
09-07-2018, 01:02 PM   #11
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A great photo is simple but not too much. A photo made of one subject tightly framed isn't the best because it lacks room for interpretation by the reader's own experience. On the other hand, a photo with too many elements leave the reader confused. A good photographs contains a few elements and a hierarchy: uneven / progressive lighting helps emphasize the subject relative to other components in the frame, light tells what the photograph is about. Of course being there are the right time if the making of a photograph is outside of a studio. Finding the right composition is not obvious, digital photography tends to make it easy to record anything at no additional cost, we often prefer not to wait to the right image, that is why a lot of photographs are either too simple, or too cluttered, or poorly lit. When the compelling image is found, the expensive camera tool allow to reproduce the image, the larger the sensor / camera resolving power, the better the quality of reproduction.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 09-07-2018 at 01:20 PM.
09-07-2018, 01:49 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Here is a story of "The Babe Bows Out" the retirement of Babe Ruth's number.
Chances are you know it and none from anyone else that day. This article briefly details the vision.
Babe Ruth Bows Out – Iconic Photos
09-07-2018, 01:58 PM   #13
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composition
09-07-2018, 03:03 PM - 1 Like   #14
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These percentages made my day.

A good studio portrait for example must be sharp in good lighting with good matching colors/tones on the image. (Plus the pose, make up,...) If anything goes off the whole image will be bad. If I use maths its the product of every parameter where parameters given in 0 to 1.
This is true for every photograph only the parameters change.
(Add the viewer as an additional parameter, he must like it.)
09-07-2018, 03:24 PM - 3 Likes   #15
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A sharp concept. You will never get a great photo out of a fuzzy concept.
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