Today, with the power of the smartphone, almost everybody has the capability to make a photograph. There is always a motivation, that leads us to pull the cellphone or another photo taking instrument from the pocket and take THAT photo. When that motivation or idea is well captured in the photograph, we will not be surprised that people say WOW! Often it is obvious. It may be the beauty of the sunset, the sunrise or a cute pet that people react to. “The picture that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.” — Scott Lorenzo. However, beauty is in the eye of the beerholder. “… Seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph” (Matt Hardy). The following are the fundamental elements in a photo and will help you identify its message.
A low angle might make the subject seem larger than reality, while a high angle makes the subject look very small.
What is the main focal point of the photograph? How is the subject framed within the photo? A close-up might convey more power than a wide shot might. What is in the background of the photograph, and does that background add to the photo’s overall message?
Is the subject lit very brightly, giving the impression of clarity and openness, or is the subject darkly lit, giving the impression of something mischievous or devious going on? Is the lighting soft with barely any shadows, or hard with sharp shadows.
4. Subject and position:
If there is more than one subject in the photo, how do the subjects relate to each other? Do we see the entire subject, or only a portion of it? If the subject is a person, is he/she looking at the camera or looking away? Is he/she serious, happy, sad, or mischievous?
Pernisco, Nick (2015). Practical Media Literacy: An essential guide to the critical thinking skills for our digital world (2 edition). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, California.