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What Make a Great Photograph?

Updated on November 6, 2009

What's wrong with my Photos?

I have always considered myself a pretty good photographer.  I have a closet full of photo albums dating back to the day of my marriage.  My camera bag accompanies me more than my purse does.  With that in mind, why not sell some of my beautiful landscapes on line?

I researched some of the online sites that let you upload photos to sell, and applied with one. The application alone was harder than I expected, and included a written test, and the submission of samples of my work.

After I passed the written test, I thought I was home free. All that was left was to submit a few of my many photos.  WRONG... How could that be?  My photos didn't pass the test.  I'm not out though, I just will not be accepted until I submit some better photographs.

One of my Landscape photos

Quality was good here, but notice how the landscape is cut in half.  I should have had only one-third sky.
Quality was good here, but notice how the landscape is cut in half. I should have had only one-third sky.

Quality, Composition, Subject

  1. Quality:  To sell a photo, the quality must be highest possible.  It must be totally in focus, and not blurred by unsteady hands holding the camera.  The lighting has to be right, with no harsh shadows or reflections.   It is better not to use a flash, when possible.  The picture also has to be the greatest image size your camera can take, usually 1200 x 1600 pixels or greater.
  2. Composition:  This is where I was surprised not to do as well as I thought I would. Composition is how you stage your photo, and where each element sits in your picture. Our camera's viewfinder helps us to center our subject, but centering is not considered the best composition.  Usually it is better to have your subject off center,  and your landscape either two-thirds sky, or two-thirds land.  There is much more to this than I can tell you here.  Many good books are available.
  3. Subject:  Look at magazine pictures with a photographers eye.  You can take pictures of cake, coffee pots, fence posts, or kids.  What you take a picture of must be interesting though, and tell some sort of story.  

Still Trying

I am still trying to improve my photography skills, and also still trying to submit some of my best online.  I feel I am getting better, with what I have recently been studying.

Remember it is also very important, if you do consider trying to submit photos online, to read all the legal requirements.  Many photo subjects require release forms to be signed.


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    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks for reading. Nice to know what a photographer thinks.

    • ekenzy profile image

      ekenzy 7 years ago

      though formerly a photographer, will like to know more. nice hub. thanks

    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks, agvulpes. I guess if just follow the rules too much, everyones pics will look the same.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      Susan don't be too hard on yourself lol

      I'm a keen photographer myself and know a good shot when I see one. Even though your shot may have broken the 1 third rule it is still a good shot.


    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I will have to look at that site. I have just started putting photos on Shutterpoint.

    • profile image

      loriamoore 8 years ago


      I offer my photos on Dot Photo. I'm getting pretty good at flowers and sunsets, but I don't have the gift for taking photos of people.


    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thanks all. I am still working on my photography, and plan to write more about it.

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 8 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Thanks for sharing this; I hope you write more on this subject and provide the information that you stated you were unable to post in this hub. Explore this niche further; it is a developing market that will lead to good returns for those who can put their individuality into a visual context. Of course you can always open your own site, write your legal docs and post your work. There are 1000's of shutternuts out there who would support your efforts! I might be one. Keep in touch.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      I am a wee bit of an amateur photographer so I appreciate your advice here. Thank you!

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 8 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Enjoyed this Hub. I am not much of a photographer, but I know a good picture when I see one. Thanks for sharing.