There are tomes of advice on how to take better photos. I’ve written some photography tips myself over time, and while I will continue to share those and do think they are helpful, for truly improving your photography, you need to know how to think about photography beyond simple recipes. To think on this subject and make your own creative decisions with your camera in hand, you first need to know the basics of what makes a good photo better than the rest. So let’s try to recognise the elements that make good photographs tick.
The simple formulas for taking more interesting pictures stop you from making the basic errors that ruin thoughtless snapshots, but that’s technique and mechanics, for the most part. Good photos are not only good because of how you take them, but more so because of what they show and how they look. We mostly judge good photos on pure aesthetics and content. The one big gap in our understanding, to take us from boring images to ones that hold people’s attention, is an ignorance of what features a good photograph has.