Moving My Pictures from Bad to Good to Better to Best

by | May 10, 2016 | Tips & Tricks | 0 comments

In the PRO Critique and Q&A webinar with the PRO Members last Saturday I talked about what the differences are between a bad, good, better and best image. Once we know these things, we can start taking 5 steps to effectively capturing best pictures in whatever genre we want.

So, what are the differences between bad, good, better and best images?

I think we would all agree that this is a bad picture:

160503-8773_--_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 20003

Why? It’s got some great potential with an interesting subject there in the foreground, but because it’s out of focus, overexposed, improperly framed and has absolutely no vestige of purpose, message or emotion, everyone would say it’s a bad picture.

So, what about this picture? Again, an engaging subject, but this time it’s captured in a good way. In fact, their Grandma loves this picture so much that she has it framed on the wall and uses it in many different ways. So, because of the message, emotion and expression, we would consider it to be a good picture.


But we want to take better pictures than just good pictures, right? And to do this we must know the ins-and-outs of what the camera can do for us and how to make the camera do what we want. While the picture of the grandchildren shows great expressions, technically there are many things that could be done better with it. Things that were applied in this next picture:

`160421-6731_--_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 97 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 40021

This shot is applying a lot of technical things that are more difficult to capture with a phone camera or point and shoot camera. The shallow depth of field, the soft bokeh, the crisp focus, the high image quality and the expression-of-the-moment captured in the movement of time. The picture not only tells a story and captures expression, it applies a lot of technical aspects that make it a better shot.

But there’s one thing that keeps this shot from being a best shot, at least in my opinion. There’s no interaction with the viewer or element of artistic creativity. And that’s where pictures like this take the cake for an example of the best sort of shots that can be taken:

160503-8786_--_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 200 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 20003

I don’t think anyone would say this is a bad picture. This shot is good because it tells an emotional story. It’s better because it’s capturing that moment beautifully. But it’s best because it’s engaging and artistic. It’s more than a picture. It’s the portrait of how love can penetrate poverty.

There’s a lot more I could say about this sequence, and there’s definitely better examples that could be given than are in my portfolio to offer. But it gets the idea across. And I think we can all start looking for ways to move our pictures from bad to good to better to best. I don’t have time here to go into the 5 steps that we can start following to effectively capture best pictures in any genre, but if you’re a PRO member you can learn what they are in last Saturday’s webinar, 5 Steps To Capturing Action Effectively.

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