What Makes a Great Photograph?

So what makes a photograph really stand out? Professional photographer Joel Grimes tries to give his answer.

With the rise of digital cameras and even more so with the recent surge of mobile photography, we are bombarded with an endless stream of images. However some images do stand out from the crowed. What makes them so special? Grimes has been asking this question for years and his view is that for many photographers (especially new ones) there is too much emphasis on the technical aspect of photography and too little attention given to the more artistic side (think about this – you can have the sharpest image in the world but if your subject isn’t clear or interesting, if your composition is poor – your image can never be great).

Grimes urges you to think about what is your vision as an artist. He looks at images and try to see what he likes and don’t like, this does not mean that he is going to copy other photographers – it simply gives him a better understanding of what he feels are good building blocks for great photography.

Below is a very quick video with one of our favorite photographers – Steve McCurry – who tries to answer the same question and for him the answer has to do with telling a good story.

Steve McCurry on What Makes A Great Photograph in One-Minute


They say a picture is worth a thousand words and when trying to understand what make a good picture, a 1000 words might not be enough – however a few images might go a long way. This is why we think this video by two top NG photo editors, talking about their favorite images can help understand the making of a great picture.

National Geographic editors pick their favorite Your Shot images


Joel Grimes has been the subject of several videos we published here in the past including “Making Superheroes“, “Shooting Active Sports Photography in the Studio” and “Joel Grimes: the Singing Photographer“.

You can watch more from interesting photographers on our photographer’s section here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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