Why Some Photographs Make More of an Impact than Others

Quebec City in April 09. There was snow until May.
Quebec City in April '09. There was snow until May.

If you ask a photographer to choose the best picture they’ve clicked, it’s like asking a parent to choose one child over the other – in their eyes, every photograph is equally beautiful. But, beauty lies in the eyes of the true beholder, the people who are supposed to admire and appreciate the work of art of the photographer. And although we all have our favorites, there are some pictures that universally make more of an impact than others, because:

  • They are interesting: It’s the subject of a photograph that captivates, whether it is a simple flower or a complicated landscape. The way it is captured on screen, to highlight all its plus points, makes the picture even more attractive. Most photographers look for interesting subjects and then use techniques, angles and lighting to make the pictures stunning in their beauty.
  • They are timed to perfection: The most awe-inspiring shots are often of nature in all its fury or man in unbelievable action poses. When we see avalanches rolling down mountains, lions attacking antelopes and sportsmen caught on film in mid-air, we naturally draw our breaths at the sheer beauty of the shot. The key to making these pictures look good is perfect timing – you need to be in the right place at the right time and also make sure that the light, position and angles are correct.
  • They have sentimental value: I’m sure no one can forget the picture of a little girl running naked on the streets, her body burning from the acid and her mouth screaming in pain, following the napalm incendiary bomb attack by U.S. Air Force planes. This one photograph was enough to bring about awareness of the horrors and atrocities of the Vietnam War. And even today, years after the little girl recovered and put behind the ghastly experience, this photo tugs your heartstrings and reminds you of the futility of war.
  • They are rare: Some pictures capture those rare occurrences and elusive objects, things and events that you have to wait for what seems like eternity. Photographs of animals thought to be extinct or natural phenomena that occur once in a blue moon are admired and appreciated because they are rare and one-off occurrences that we do not get to see often.


This guest post was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of top photography colleges. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions via email at adrienne dot carlson1 at gmail dot com. Photo by Range.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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