By : Nikon School Blog | 30 Jun, 2015 |
All of us want to shoot great images that make people go 'wow'. Trouble is, how do we know ourselves whether the image is great or not? In a world where millions of images are being shot every year, it is difficult to find a spot at the top. Enter any international contest and you will quickly realise how much great work is being done. To stand out, your image has to be different. Forget about technique or composition rules, if an image captivates your audience, then you've nailed it. But first, you've got to be awed yourself. A few pointers to help you judge your own images.
What is your image about? Is it about a person, or a location, or a thing, or more than one of these, or none of these? Whatever it is, is it grabbing your attention when you look at it along with 300 other files in a folder? If you've got an image which instantly attracts attention due to a strong subject matter, then it has crossed the first step in selection.
Point of view
Irrespective of how common or unique your subject is, have you photographed it any differently from the usual? If your viewpoint is unique or at least less than common, the image moves one more step.
Moment / story
You've got a unique viewpoint of an attractive subject, but do you have a moment that tells a story? The same subject can be shot by thousands, but your story or moment, can be unique and make your image a winner.
Photography is mostly about manipulating light. Is there a magical quality about the light? Have you been able to do justice to the ambient light in setting the exposure? Most contest winners will have brilliant light, natural or artificial, to help the subject. A story with great light is better than one with none.
Do you have too many elements in the image? Is the subject difficult to find? Is every visible element a part of the story with a definite role to play, or are they just accidental inclusions? Unnecessary elements are distractions. Select images with elements that have a definite role to play.
After all the above stages of screening, judge your image technically. Is it free from dust spots, or any other marks? Zoom to 100% to be sure. Is it too grainy? Does it have even a very slight camera shake? Is the depth-of-field as per requirement? Is it free from any pronounced lens distortions or flares? Is the saturation or sharpness within moderate levels?
While some of these technical defects can be corrected, it's better to avoid them in the first place while shooting, or select the files which exhibit the least of these defects.
The final test for your image is to ensure that you have captured the truth. The story that you have captured should indeed be a story, and not one staged by you. Be strict on yourself and don't give in to the temptation of putting elements in the frame as per your convenience. The best rewards are the ones hard won.