Downtown LA, 2015
Downtown LA, 2015

What is the difference between a “so-so” photograph, and a great photograph? For me it is simple — you just want to have a “cherry on top” in your photograph (a small detail which elevates a good photo to a great photo).

Often you don’t notice a “cherry on top” in your photos while you shoot it. Often, you will notice it after-the-fact. You will notice it in the “editing” phase of your photography — when you are inspecting your photos after you’ve shot them.

Mumbai, 2014
Mumbai, 2014

A “cherry on top” can be a small detail in the background. It can be a certain person, face, or hand-gesture. It is a little “extra something” which adds additional interest, depth, or emotion to your frame.

This is why I encourage you to take lots of photos of an interesting scene. Because the more photos you take, the more likely you are to find an interesting “cherry on top” in the scene, that you might not be able to see while you’re shooting.

Sometimes the “cherry on top” can be eye-contact. Sometimes it can be the body-language or hand-gesture of your subject. Sometimes it can be having an extra subject in your frame.

Downtown LA, 2011
Downtown LA, 2011

We can’t identify the “cherry on top” while we’re shooting, but we can identify it afterwards.

Keep clicking, keep shooting, and learn how to be more discerning when judging and looking at your own photos.

Look for the “cherry on top” — just a small detail which can elevate your good photo to a great photo.

Learn more Photography 101 >