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5 Essential Elements for a Great Photo

Creating stunning photographs require a lot of skill, patience and time to study the scene, compose, look into technical details and then making the photograph. A photographer needs to focus on various elements of the scene and put them together to make a meaningful photograph.


In this article we will look at the five Fundamental Elements of Photography.


Basically, there are five common elements that great images typically have:

· Light

· Color

· Moment

· Composition

· Distance


Essentially, these are five tools we have as photographers to work with, allowing us to create higher quality photographs. If we start to recognize and become more aware of how to best use these elements, we will start to make greater images rather than good images.


1. Light


Light is the most fundamental element that all photographs need because it illuminates the scene or subject. Whether it be natural or artificial light the quality and direction of light is what's important.


Light helps to create a particular mood within the photograph and can bring emphasis to key elements within a frame. Likewise, light can help create depth and accentuate the textures in an image by creating a mix of highlights and shadows.


2. Color


Color helps to set the mood of an image and can play a significant role in touching the viewer on an emotional level. Color can also be used as a compositional tool where contrasting colors play a very important role.


Color is one of the main factors responsible for making a photo feel mysterious, exciting, sad, or gloomy. Evoking emotions is important in creating strong images and color is one of our primary tools to do this.


3. Moment



A strong moment is more than highlighting a particular subject or action in time. Creating a moment in a photograph should be about having all the elements in a frame come together as to tell a captivating story, when every part of the picture interacts with the other parts in a way that the viewer might think – wow this is special and probably doesn't happen that often.


Not every photo will be able to have special moments where all the parts come together perfectly, but again we should be thinking about this when shooting so we can try to include more elements that create a stronger moment.


4. Composition


Composition is about putting together objects in your frame in such a way as to emphasize the parts you want to and make them stand out in a particular way. Composition can often be very subjective, but good composition can turn an ordinary scene into an image that grabs the viewers attention.


There are numerous rules, principles and guidelines for creating better composed images, but in the end it's up to the photographer to find something that works for the given situation. I find it useful to study the work of the masters and of course shoot as much as possible to get practice.


“Creating relevant and good compositions is a key element of great photographs.”


5. Distance


The distance the photographer chooses to be from their subject will affect the feeling and overall impact a photo has. It will also determine what focal length you need to shoot at in order to get all of the important parts of the photo into the frame.


Like with all of these five tools/elements there is no right or wrong way, per se. It will vary depending on the situation and what the photographer wants to accomplish. That being said, certain images are more powerful if shot closer to the subject, making the viewer feel like they are there. Other images look much better at a further distance from the subject. There should be a thought process though about why we choose to be certain distances from our subjects and how that will make the final image look.


When shooting a moment, give importance to how you arrange various elements within the frame. Do not overcrowd and let objects overlap unnecessarily as it can be quite distracting and look chaotic. Leave some breathing space for better frames, for example, leave space between the subject or other elements and the edge of the frame.


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