In the past few years, the explosion of DSLR technology has enabled many people to call themselves amateur photographers, or even start businesses as “professional” photographers. Many of them depend solely on the camera’s features and Photoshop to produce “great” pictures, with no knowledge of what makes a good photo.
Growing up with a father who has devoted himself to photography as a hobby his entire life and as a result has taken consistently amazing pictures with film cameras (and often developing them himself), I find myself more and more irritated at people who just pick up a DSLR, shoot some pictures in black and white, or at an angle, or using the macro mode, and think that they are awesome photographers. The camera is only the tool. If your picture doesn’t have proper composition, lighting, and focus, all present in the picture, it frankly is not a good one at all, even though it has been taken with a DSLR and Photoshopped to bits. I’ve seen my dad critique tons of pictures taken with DSLRs, and the most common thing he has to say is this:
What is the focus?
Though the picture may be in focus, in the sense that nothing is not blurry that isn’t supposed to be, he refers to the main subject of the picture. In 90% of pictures, there should only be one main focus. Your eyes should be drawn immediately to it and everything else around it should frame it in a way that adds to it, does not distract from it, and points your eye to the main subject.
The problem is that many people include multiple subjects in their pictures, so that the viewer’s eye doesn’t know what you wanted it to see. I’m not saying that every picture should be of a single object. Single subject could be anything from a landscape to a crowd. It’s just that I see so many pictures with no clear subject focus, and yet compliments abound for such on Facebook, further prompting more mediocre pictures. The moral of the story is, go take a photography class, or at least read a decent photography book(s) if you’re gonna start using a DSLR, and take pictures actually worth complimenting.