How to Make Great Photos

Practical ideas:

1. Obscurity

Obscure the face of your subject. Like in the above photo — you cannot see his eyes or his identity. By obscuring his face, the image becomes more mysterious. You wonder “open ended questions” like:

  • Who is he?
  • What is his personal story?
  • What are those tattoos on his back?
  • What is his emotions?
  • What is on his mind?

2. Surrealism

Shoot juxtapositions of a subject against a strange background.

Pro-tip: shoot with a flash to make the photos look more surreal!

3. Social statement

Make social commentary, critique, or social-political-economic opinions through your photos!

You can also talk about in your photos:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Equality
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Government
  • Health
  • Family
  • etc…

4. Let the viewer make their own interpretation

What kind of critique/social commentary am I trying to say through this photo — of a ‘loveless’ family, with cut-out faces?

Don’t make the photos too obvious. Leave it open to interpretation. This is called a ‘curiosity gap’. Let the viewer be curious enough to try to interpret the photo.

5. “Cherry on top”

I call this a ‘cherry on top’. Having a small detail which transforms a normal photo into a great photo.

For example in the below image, what are the details you find interesting or noteworthy?

For me, it is the two cans of Red Bull in her hand. And the other hand has a cigarette. What does this say about this type of lifestyle? Good or bad? Good and bad — how so?

What do you think is her story? Why does she need to drink all these Red Bulls — for what?