Technical analysis of a photograph

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at five of the six aspects that I believe define a photograph. I term them as being “technical” aspects as they are measurable or identifiable;

Exposure, Focus, Depth of Field, Colour and Contrast.


In these posts I’ve tried to explain a little about what each parameter is, why it can be important and how to use it in a photograph.

Of course for different photos, different aspects will be more important and not all photos will be critically impacted by all of the five criteria.

Mikey 2

For example, a nice portrait should have the subject’s eyes in focus – this is almost always critical, but the DoF isn’t always an issue depending on what’s in the background.  Good focus is usually a must in most photographs, but some abstract images like those with Intentional Camera Movement are more about colours, tones and contrast than how in (or out) of focus the object is.

Rose ICM

However, one aspect that every photograph has is Composition. The problem with this aspect is that it is very subjective – what one person loves, another will hate. If it’s a new idea it can be a revelation, but if it’s one that you’ve seen scores of times before it becomes a cliché.

Within composition there are some guidelines to help but they really are only guidelines and are there to be broken from time to time.

In the next post we’ll cover some of these compositional guidelines and then go on to more nebulous aspects such as balance, feeling, tension etc.

Most views

The picture above is my most favourited and third most viewed image on Flickr – why is that do you think?  Take a look at a couple of your most popular images and ask yourself critically how do they stack up in terms of Exposure, Focus, Depth of Field, Colour, Contrast and Composition.

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