How to Read a Photograph (2023)

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to make and take a photograph, but we may not be as thorough when thinking about how to view a finished photograph. With the exception of studying photography as fine art, we typically approach a photograph as a technically accurate representation of what the photographer saw. A subject is a subject is a subject, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein. And in all fairness, some photographs—snapshots and pics, really—are not meant to be more than tangible items that remind us of what we saw or experienced. Quick pics of a restaurant meal, selfies, and snapshots taken at events often fall into this category.

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose. —Gertrude Stein, “Sacred Emily”

However, most photographs offer another layer of experience—a reading experience as rich as any written prose—if we take the time to observe and process the photograph’s visual language. A photographer intervened between the subject and viewer in these photographs, composing and framing the elements in the photograph to express a narrative, nudge the viewer’s focus, and evoke feelings. These photographs are about something. They not only invite a viewer’s involvement; they demand that engagement. These photographs provide insights and information, but only if we interpret the visual rhetoric.

We also read photographs to avoid being visually misinformed. More than any other art form, a photograph represents something real. We don’t look at a photograph as much as we look through it, using the photograph as a visual portal to a mental re-creation of what we expect to see. But even the most representative photograph is a version of reality interpreted by the photographer for an intended audience. By reading a photograph, we decode the photograph, unpacking the photographer’s interpretation rather than accepting the photograph as it appears on its face.

How to Read a Photograph

There’s nothing fixed about how to read photographs. In fact, your approach to reading a photograph can change, depending upon the purpose or your use of the photograph. For example, if viewing a photograph for historical information, you’d spend time closely examining the photographer’s cultural bias and the prevailing social attitudes at the time the photograph was taken. In contrast, if you’re viewing a photograph for social meaning, you might spend more time considering the techniques a photographer used to identify the subject.

(Video) How To Read A Photograph

Viewers can disagree about the quality or relevance of a photograph, and they can—and usually do—generate multiple interpretations of the same image. It’s also common to read a photograph one way and then some time later, when re-visiting the photograph, read the same photograph a different way or arrive at a different interpretation. However, there is a limit on the range of interpretations a photograph will allow. The limit is not what the photographer meant the photograph to mean but what the internal visual coherence of the photograph will sustain. An interpretation that breaks a photograph down into unrelatable or conflicting parts is invalid.

So, how do we read photographs? While there may not be hard and fast rules, there are some guidelines. The guidelines are based on our understanding of how we see two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional space, and how, as a culture, we interpret visual elements, icons, and symbols. Terry Barrett, an American art critic who specializes in reading photography, suggests we work our way through these guidelines in an approach that I’m going to express as a formula:

Subject Matter + Form + Medium + Context = Content

I’ve used that formula to shape my following guidelines for reading photography.

Subject Matter: What’s In the Photograph?

Begin reading a photograph by looking at the things in the photograph. What people, places, and things are included in the photograph? (Be sure to look right to the edges of the photograph.) List the items and group them (mentally or on paper) into logical categories.

Consider whether there are any activities captured. If so, how do the people or activities use the objects in the photograph? Is there a relationship between subjects in the photograph? Do they touch or look at each other? Or is there an existing order in the subjects?

In the photograph below, there are a boy, a ball, a half-open entrance, a camera, and several signs. There are also windows, a canal, a railing, steps, lots of sun and some shade. There’s a relationship of play between the boy and the ball. There’s also a relationship between the signs (Carabinieri, or police), entrance, and security camera. The canal, windows, steps, and street all provide a setting. There is not yet a relationship between the boy and his ball and the police, but the anticipation of a relationship is a palpable subject.

(Video) Every Photo Is a Story Part 1: Start to Read a Photograph

How to Read a Photograph (1)How to Read a Photograph (2)How to Read a Photograph (3)

When looking at what’s in the photograph, be sure to also consider what is not in the photograph. Can you assume that the missing items exist but have been left out of the frame, either deliberately or by necessity? That is, did the photographer frame the photograph to exclude the item or is the item excluded because it would not be possible to include it in the photograph? For example, in the above photograph, the shadow on the ground suggests there’s a large tree behind, but it would be impossible to include that tree in this photograph. Also missing is a playmate. Is the boy playing with the ball by himself or did the photographer deliberately exclude a playmate?

Form: How is the Photograph Composed?

The nature of photography forces us to work with a frame, making a decision about what to include and what to exclude. Within the frame, we use various techniques to lead viewers around the objects that were included and emphasize some objects over others. These compositional techniques speak volumes about what is in the photograph and what the photographer is trying to communicate.

Look at what the photographer chose to emphasize within the frame and with what technique. How does the photographer lead you around and through the contents of the frame? Consider subject placement within the frame and the use of leading lines, depth of field, and focus. Did the photographer choose a focal length that emphasizes one object or de-emphasizes another? What has become the focus of the photograph as a result of these techniques? What does the photographer’s techniques for emphasis tell us about the subject of the photograph?

Sometimes, a photographer is able to deliberately organize items before framing and taking the photograph. This would be the case with a still life, product shot, or portrait. Other times, the photographer is faced with what the situation presents and must choose a perspective that organizes the objects within the frame. To see how a photograph has been structured and organized, try turning the photograph upside down or imagining the photograph as a flat piece of plain paper with shapes and objects rather than a representation of three-dimensional space. What shapes do you see? Are there lines or repetitions in the photograph? What do these shapes and their placement tell you about the photograph?

In the following photograph, the photographer uses lines and shapes to lead the viewer past the person in the foreground to the second person, who is the subject. The line of chairs in the foreground, the edge of the light coming in from the distant windows, and the planks in the floor all point to the grandmother, who is sitting in the centre right of the photograph—a compositionally strong point in the frame. The photographer also uses the archway to create a frame around the grandmother and, in the distance, the parents.If the viewer is drawn past the grandmother to the parents and windows in the background, the line created by the furniture along the right wall redirects the viewer's eye back to the grandmother. The photographer's composition tells you the grandmother is the matriarch, the strength in this photograph of a three-generational family.

How to Read a Photograph (4)How to Read a Photograph (5)How to Read a Photograph (6)
How to Read a Photograph (7)How to Read a Photograph (8)How to Read a Photograph (9)

Light and shadows are also objects within a photograph, so be sure to consider them when reading a photograph. Notice where the light and shadows are placed. What are their shapes? Where are the light and shadows in relation to the frame of the photograph? What has been placed in light and what has been placed in shadow. What does the photographer’s use of light and shadow tell you about the photograph and its story? For example, in the above photograph, light is streaming in from the windows in the background, washing out the parents in highlights but perfectly lighting the grandmother. The young boy, who occupies the largest physical space in the photograph, is in shadow. There is light coming in from the window behind him, but it's a weak light that doesn't illuminate the boy's face or the book he is reading. What does the photographer's use of light and shadow tell you about the boy and his place in the family?

(Video) How to Read a Photograph - Paper One, IO, or HLE

Medium: What Materials and Processes Were Used?

Medium is the materials and processes used to make the art. For a photograph, this can include the equipment (camera and lens), the recording medium (digital or film, and if film, the size and kind), the developing process or adjustments, and the final presentation (printed or web, and if printed, the size and type of the paper and framing).

Historic photos are going to be black and white by necessity, but modern photographs could be colour or black and white. Consider the photographer’s choice and what that means for the photograph’s story. If a photograph is taken with film, even the choice of film stock can make a significant difference in how a subject is portrayed. Is the film high contrast and grainy, or is it a slow, smooth film with infinite tonality? If the photograph is in colour, are the colours enhanced or altered, or if the photograph is black and white, was the photograph toned? Was the photograph taken with a smartphone or a large format camera? Does it matter? Did the photographer use a specific lens—a fisheye, for example—to emphasize something in the frame?

When considering medium, also consider the photographer’s choices within the context of the standards and practices of photography at the time. A modern photograph presented in black and white would tell us something about the photographer’s intent, but the same photograph taken seventy or eighty years ago would necessarily be in black and white. Similarly, a modern photographer using an historic photographic process—collodion plates, for example—is adding layers of meaning to the photograph.

In the following photograph, you can’t tell whether the photographer originally shot in colour or black and white, but you can tell that the black and white photograph has been toned to create or enhance a cold, moody look. The lack of compression indicates that the photograph was taken with a wide-angle lens, and even with that, the photographer has created an impressively-wide panoramic. How do those choices add to the photograph? Do they influence your feelings about the view?

How to Read a Photograph (10)How to Read a Photograph (11)How to Read a Photograph (12)

When considering medium, also consider where and how the photograph is displayed. The same photograph could sustain different interpretations depending upon whether it’s hung in a gallery, printed in a magazine, or displayed on a personal website. How would you read the above photograph if it was used as a banner image in a travel magazine or in material advocating environmental awareness? Would your reading be different if the photograph was printed 6-feet wide on canvas, framed, and hung in an art gallery?

Context: What Were the Circumstances in Which the Photograph Was Made?

Context involves a broad consideration of the interrelated conditions in which the photograph was made and is being viewed. This includes the culture in which the photograph was made; for example, the time, social beliefs, and cultural practices that would have given rise to the image and influenced the photographer. A still life of a rich display of seafood, tropical fruit, and crystal could be an appreciation of texture, light, and tones, but, if the photograph was taken in the late 1800s when seafood, tropical fruit, and crystal were extraordinarily expensive and difficult to obtain, the photograph would also be an expression of wealth. What if that same photograph had been taken during a food crisis: how would that change your interpretation?

(Video) Photography Interpretations

The following photograph could be read differently, depending upon where the photograph was taken. The photograph would tell one story if it was taken in a hospital waiting room and yet another if the photograph was taken at a transit stop. What if the photograph was taken in a park or on a busy train? How does the story change if the person in the flowered outfit is a relative, friend, or stranger?

How to Read a Photograph (13)How to Read a Photograph (14)How to Read a Photograph (15)

Considerations of context are deep and convoluted when it comes to reading photographs of conflict. Photographs taken by a journalist embedded with a conflict group will have a different perspective than photographs taken by an outside observer or local journalist. Similarly, photographs taken surreptitiously are likely to tell a different story than those taken by a press corp. Other considerations include who is publishing which photographs and who is photographing whom. Photographs published of the uprisings during the Arab Spring were taken by both foreign and local photographers. How would the photographer’s own culture influence your reading of the photographs?

Tim Hetherington, a British combat photojournalist, is known for his attempts to express how the context of conflict shapes combat photography, and how combat photography shapes conflict. Hetherington called it “the feedback loop”: news, movies, and photographs of war influence young people, who then re-enact that imagery when they find themselves in conflict. Photographs of that conflict then shape the news, movies, and photographs of war. And so on.

Context also includes a photographer’s intent when taking the photograph. Intent is not a definitive indication of meaning, but it certainly contributes to what is read in a photograph. A photographer’s work can also be shaped by influences beyond a photographer’s intent and conscious attention. Richard Avedon intended to offer a fresh view of the American west when he took the photographs for his collection “In the American West.” However, Avedon’s photographs of hardship and suffering among the working class in the West have been criticized as exploitative because, it is argued, Avedon’s perspective was unconsciously skewed by his success as a commercial photographer from the East. Does the criticism change how you read his collection? Avedon had suffered a critical illness before launching on his American West project. Does that change your reading of his photographs? What if, as was alleged, Avedon had dressed some people up to be photographed as someone they were not?

Photographers frequently photograph better than they know. —Minor White

A photograph’s story is also shaped by the person viewing the photograph. We read images from the perspective of our own worldviews and values. I am fascinated by visual storytelling, so will engage documentary photographs with more gusto than I might those that are abstract. Similarly, I would likely read photographs of conflict in Ukraine differently than would a Ukrainian. That’s not to suggest that certain perspectives are more valid than others or even that the photographer’s perspective is the only correct view. Edward Weston railed against those who tried to layer sexual meaning onto his photographs of green peppers. Weston maintained that an object is photographed for its own sake. The fact that many still saw sexual intent in Weston’s peppers says as much about the viewer as it does about the photograph itself. But, if Weston did not intend sexual imagery with his peppers, does that mean that those viewers who saw it there were wrong? The test would be whether the internal consistency of the photograph could sustain the viewer’s sexual interpretation.

[I]t is disgust and weariness over having my work labeled and pigeonholed by those who bring to it their own obviously abnormal, frustrated condition: the sexually unemployed belching gaseous irrelevancies from an undigested Freudian ferment. —Edward Weston

Content: What Story is the Photograph Telling?

By considering together the subject, form, medium, and context of a photograph, we can form some conclusions about the content of a photograph. By examining photographs, we can express in words the visual representation contained within the frame. We can often intuit meaning in a photograph, but taking the time to read a photograph will often provide us with more insight into the photograph itself and what the photograph or photographer is expressing. Finally, learning to read photographs helps us write photographs. Understanding visual literacy is as relevant to making a photograph as it is to reading a finished photograph.

(Video) Photo Lesson 1: How to Read a Photograph

Not every photograph will contain complex content and not every reading will reveal all nuances in an image. Edward Weston maintained that an object is photographed for its own sake. Minor White argued that you can photograph an object for its own sake, but you could also photograph it, or a viewer could interpret it, for what else the object might be. And Alfred Stieglitz believed that you photograph an object with the intention of also provoking an emotional reaction. Regardless of the level of analysis the photographer intends or the viewer undertakes, what is certain is that developing skills in visual literacy will reward you with a richer experience both in making and viewing photographs.

Experiment with reading photographs by using the comments below to offer your reading of the following photograph.

How to Read a Photograph (16)How to Read a Photograph (17)How to Read a Photograph (18)


What does it mean to read a photograph? ›

A shortened definition of the term "reading" may be useful. Hence, to "read" a photograph is to communicate, to the best of one's ability, to another person. verbally or with written words what one has experienced visually in a photo- graph.

What can a photograph tell you? ›

A photograph will capture & freeze a moment in time whilst conveying an emotion, expressing a mood, sharing an idea & telling a narrative. All key elements of storytelling. Photos can be used to tell many stories; from travels around the world to family holidays.

What is the golden rule in photography? ›

The golden ratio is a guide to where to place a subject (a tree, person, building, etc.) or element in a photo (like the horizon) where it will be most pleasing to the eye. That divine ratio is 1.618:1. The first recorded definition of the golden ratio came from Euclid in the 3rd Century BC.

What are the 7 elements of photography? ›

There are seven basic elements of photographic art: line, shape, form, texture, color, size, and depth. As a photographic artist, your knowledge and awareness of these different elements can be vital to the success of your composition and help convey the meaning of your photograph.

Why do we need to know how do you read images? ›

Learning to read images – from a technical perspective and not a conceptual one – is something that I believe all photographers must be able to do, as it allows you to get a rough guide on what settings may have been used to create an image.

Why do we analyze photographs? ›

Analyze Images. It is important to analyze and evaluate images you use for research, study, and presentations. Images should be analyzed and evaluated like any other source, such as journal articles or books, to determine their quality, reliability, and appropriateness.

What three elements should you consider when analyzing an image? ›

When you analyze a visual image, you examine it from different angles and decide how each element functions to reach an audience for a particular purpose. Some of the elements you might consider in your analysis are the following: organization and placement; style; content; and source.

How do you describe what you see in a picture? ›

When talking about the picture or photograph, the first thing you want to say is a general description of it. You do not need to go into detail immediately. Just introduce what the picture is of — or who it is of — and say one or two sentences about it.

What emotions can photos show? ›

There are many different emotions that can be depicted in an image. In all of our photographs, we strive to highlight joy, happiness, sorrow, despair, and love. However, the interpretation can differ depending on the viewer.

Why do photos tell a story? ›

Our brains process images significantly faster than text, so photos are the ideal tool for telling stories digitally. Many photos can have the power to stand alone as a story. Even if storytellers are using a caption to convey more of the story, their image needs to be captivating enough to draw intrigue.

Why did people never smile in old photographs? ›

This early custom was because wide-mouthed, toothy grins were considered inappropriate for portraiture. Even in other kinds of old paintings, a person's wide smiles were often associated with madness, drunkenness, or otherwise informal, immature behavior.

How can I teach myself photography? ›

Regardless of what you want to achieve with your photography, here are some sure fire ways to improve your skills without a degree.
  1. Get familiar with your camera. ...
  2. Watch online tutorials. ...
  3. Hit the books (and online portfolios) ...
  4. Practice, practice and practice! ...
  5. Expand your network. ...
  6. Get a mentor or apprenticeship.

What is the basic rule of framing? ›

Framing refers to using elements of a scene to create a frame within your frame. The various subjects should be so organised that the picture has a pleasing effect. Rule of thirds is the most common basic rule of framing.

What is rule of third in photography? ›

What is the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.

What are 5 elements of a good photograph? ›

Basically, there are five common elements that great images typically have; Good use of light, color, a captivating moment, correct composition for the given situation, and the photographer's choice of distance to their subject.

What makes a photo valuable? ›

If you make pictures that inspire awe and wonder in your viewer, and you can sell those pictures for a lot of money, the pictures are “valuable” in an economic/monetary sense.

How do you Visualise an image in your mind? ›

So if you are new to the practice of visualization, here are our top 7 beginner visualization tips to help you on your way.
  1. Try Not To Overthink Things. ...
  2. Use All Your Senses. ...
  3. Make Sure You're Relaxed. ...
  4. Have A Regular visualization Practice. ...
  5. Connect With The Emotion Of Visualization. ...
  6. Visualize With A Sense Of Knowing.
21 Aug 2019

How do we read an image of a visual art? ›

“The most important mechanism for interpreting visual art is your own eyes and your ability to really see and to really look….. Go, stand in front of the work of art, literally, physically, look at it. Walk around it, look at its texture, look at its colour…”

Do you visualize when reading? ›

When you're reading, and your eyes are following the words, what do you see in your mind's eye? Many readers claim they visualize characters, setting, and action – some even claim they can imagine sounds, smells, tastes and textures. Recently, I discovered that most people can recall visual memories.

What are the questions asked in analyzing images? ›

What's happening in the image? What people and objects are shown? How are they arranged? How do they relate to each other?

How do you describe lines in photography? ›

What Is a Line in Photographic Composition? A line refers to anything that stretches between two points in your photo. So a line can be a fallen tree, a moving river, or even a slew of rocks leading off into the distance.

What is a visual analysis? ›

Visual analysis is a method of understanding art that focuses on an artwork's visual elements, such as color, line, texture, and scale. In its strictest definition, it is a description and explanation of visual structure for its own sake.

Who is the most photographed person in the world? ›

Michael Jackson. Today, almost everybody knows about the life and career of Michael Jackson. His career exploded in the 1980s to heights no one has been able to replicate ever since.

Who is the No 1 photographer in world? ›

1. Ansel Adams is probably the most easily recognized name of any photographer. His landscapes are stunning; he achieved an unparalleled level of contrast using creative darkroom work.

What is the most famous photograph in history? ›

This is the most famous photography in history, according to image search study
RankName of PhotoYear
1Man on a Moon1968
2Lunch atop a Skyscraper1932
3Flag Raising on Iwo Jima1945
4Einstein's Birthday1951
16 more rows
26 Jul 2022

How do you critically analyze an image? ›

4. Critical Analysis
  1. Why was it created?
  2. So what might it represent?
  3. How are the visual elements and composition used for effect?
  4. How does it compare/contrast to other examples?
  5. How does it relate to your practice?

What are the 3 parts of a photograph? ›

If you every time you take a shot, you consider your composition, light, and subject, you will be well on your way to making a successful photograph.

What makes a photo beautiful? ›

They capture a personality through just the eyes. They capture (or evoke) emotion. They use leading lines, the Rule of Thirds and other framing techniques to create a compositionally strong image. Beautiful photography has the right timing, the perfect color and many are bursting with creativity.

How do you describe a picture in English examples? ›

Describing pictures in English
  • Introduction. The photo/picture shows ... It was taken by/in ... ...
  • What is where? In the foreground/background you can see ... ...
  • Who is doing what? Here you decribe the persons in the picture or you say what is happening just now. ...
  • What I think about the picture. It seems as if ...

How do you say good photo? ›

Synonyms for Great photo
  1. great picture. n.
  2. good photo. n.
  3. nice photo. n.
  4. great shot. n.
  5. nice picture. n.
  6. beautiful picture. n.
  7. good picture. n.
  8. pretty picture. n.

How do you describe a picture in one word? ›

Adjective Words to Describe Picture
7 more rows

What is the mood of a photograph? ›

Mood essentially relates to the lighting in a shot. Giving something mood usually means we are trying to make it dark and brooding – making it moody. But mood can relate to any lighting situation, to give your photo any mood/feeling. For landscape photography, mood usually relates to the weather.

How do photographs affect us emotionally? ›

Like all art, photos can elicit powerful feelings. You might be driven to tears of joy by some, while others might make you roar with laughter. Some might make you cry with despair, and others may make you seethe with anger.

How can a picture make you feel? ›

Sometimes an image carries a certain mood, sometimes it is overtly emotional. For example, an image of the sky on a stormy day may feel moody, or create a sense of anticipation, as if something is about to happen. But it might not be emotional in a particularly powerful way.

What is it called when you tell a story through pictures? ›

Narrative photography is the idea that photographs can be used to tell a story.

How do you tell a story in 5 pictures? ›

A five photo story is a collection of five images which tell a story of some kind without using supplementary text, audio or video. The five photos should “stand alone” as a story. A “Story in 5 Photos” project can include five different photos or images either captured with a digital camera or located online.

What is a photo sequence? ›

What is a sequence photo? A sequence photo is the deconstruction of a moving subject within the same image. It's a particularly interesting technique to portray a sports figure: ski and snowboard jumps, skating, etc. The results are always impressive, especially for rapid, acrobatic winter sports.

What is the saying a picture says a thousand words? ›

"A picture is worth a thousand words" is an adage in multiple languages meaning that complex and sometimes multiple ideas can be conveyed by a single still image, which conveys its meaning or essence more effectively than a mere verbal description.

What is a picture story? ›

A photo story is the intentional use of pictures and words assembled into a story. One of the best ways you can tell a photo story is in a photo book. To better understand what a photo story is, it can be helpful to understand what a photo story is not.

Why do people always look so serious in old photos? ›

Most believe it is due to the limited technology at the time to capture a smile - exposure times were long and so it was easier to hold a serious expression over a long period.

What do you do with old family pictures no one wants? ›

We've included ideas for upcycling those old photos in our list below.
  • Scan Pictures. Digitizing old photos is a great option. ...
  • Upload Images to the Cloud. ...
  • Create a Collage. ...
  • Make a Scrapbook. ...
  • Create Your Family Tree. ...
  • Recycle Negatives with GreenDisk. ...
  • Transform Negatives Into Art. ...
  • Digitize Negatives.
19 Aug 2022

Why do old photos look better? ›

Stochastic Resonance makes film photos look better!

My theory: Film photos also exhibit “stochastic resonance” by adding random film grain to our photos, which improves the aesthetic rendering of the picture!

What are the 3 steps in photography? ›

The Three Steps To Better Photography
  1. 1 – Know the subject. Think about what it is you are taking a picture of and make sure you have a clear understanding of the main subject of the photo. ...
  2. 2 – Focus attention. Choose what is going to be the focus of the attention of this photograph. ...
  3. 3 – Simplify.
9 Jun 2022

What are the six steps to go through before taking a photograph? ›

Six Essential Steps to Taking Great Photographs
  1. Step 1 – See. Seldom does a photograph succeed because of unusual technique or exotic equipment. ...
  2. Step 2 – Feel. Feeling has to do with the emotions generated by a place or subject. ...
  3. Step 3 – Think. ...
  4. Step 4 – Isolate. ...
  5. Step 5 – Organize. ...
  6. Step 6 – Experiment.

How do I learn basic photography? ›

  1. Learn to hold your camera properly.
  2. Start shooting in RAW.
  3. Understand the exposure triangle.
  4. Wide aperture is best for portraits.
  5. Narrow aperture is best for landscapes.
  6. Learn to use Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes.
  7. Don't be afraid to raise the ISO.
  8. Make a habit of checking the ISO before you start shooting.
1 Jan 2021

What are the 3 most important things in photography? ›

The three variables that matter the most in photography are simple: light, subject, and composition.

What makes a photo beautiful? ›

They capture a personality through just the eyes. They capture (or evoke) emotion. They use leading lines, the Rule of Thirds and other framing techniques to create a compositionally strong image. Beautiful photography has the right timing, the perfect color and many are bursting with creativity.

What are the 7 tips for taking good photographs? ›

7 Tips For Taking Better Photos
  • How To Compose Great Photos. Great photos start with great composition: how you frame the shot and where you position different elements within the scene. ...
  • Keep It Simple. ...
  • Change Your Perspective. ...
  • Add Depth To Your Images. ...
  • Use The Sun To Create A Silhouette. ...
  • Look For Reflections. ...
  • Find Symmetry.

What are the five sequential steps in taking a photograph? ›

5 Steps to Taking a Good Photo
  1. Step 1) Find the light.
  2. Step 2) Watch your background.
  3. Step 3) Expose correctly.
  4. Step 4) Capture the fleeting moments!
  5. Step 5) Print. Print. Print.
19 Jul 2017

What are the steps in photography? ›

Photography Basics
  1. Research and find photo inspiration.
  2. Read your camera's manual.
  3. Make sure you understand the language. ...
  4. Find your location and set up your equipment.
  5. Frame your photo through the lens, and make sure the light and color are balanced.
  6. Hold your camera carefully.
  7. Take your time.
15 Jan 2019

Why do we analyze photographs? ›

Analyze Images. It is important to analyze and evaluate images you use for research, study, and presentations. Images should be analyzed and evaluated like any other source, such as journal articles or books, to determine their quality, reliability, and appropriateness.

What is rule of third in photography? ›

What is the rule of thirds? The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.

How do you describe lines in photography? ›

What Is a Line in Photographic Composition? A line refers to anything that stretches between two points in your photo. So a line can be a fallen tree, a moving river, or even a slew of rocks leading off into the distance.

What are the 5 rules of composition in photography? ›

Compositional Rules
  • Compositional Rules.
  • Rule #1: Leading Lines.
  • Rule #2: Rule of Thirds.
  • Rule #3: Negative Space.
  • Rule #4: Horizon Line.
  • Rule #5: Symmetry and Patterns.
6 Feb 2015

What are the 5 elements of photography? ›

Here Are The 5 Fundamental Elements of Photography
  • Light. Light is the most fundamental element that all photographs need because it illuminates the scene or subject. ...
  • Color. ...
  • Moment. ...
  • Composition. ...
  • Photographer's Choice Of Distance To Their Subject.
4 Feb 2020


1. How To Analyze A Photograph
(Photography Course)
2. Reading Photographs
(Miami E-Campus Help)
3. Webinar - How to Read a Photograph default
(Division of Arts & Humanities)
4. How to become a better photographer through 'visual exercise'
(Sean Tucker)
5. How to read a photograph (Shaoyang Song)
6. John Berger: Understanding a Photograph
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Last Updated: 12/30/2022

Views: 6430

Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dr. Pierre Goyette

Birthday: 1998-01-29

Address: Apt. 611 3357 Yong Plain, West Audra, IL 70053

Phone: +5819954278378

Job: Construction Director

Hobby: Embroidery, Creative writing, Shopping, Driving, Stand-up comedy, Coffee roasting, Scrapbooking

Introduction: My name is Dr. Pierre Goyette, I am a enchanting, powerful, jolly, rich, graceful, colorful, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.