Five S’s for super shots

"Washday abstract"

“Washday Abstract”
Simplicity is one of the keys to making your image.

A list to help you make a good image

I love a good list. It helps me remember what I have to do. Here is a list of five S’s that will lead you through the basics of making a photograph…


The subject of your picture is the most important thing. Concentrate on your subject. It is too easy to put all sorts of things into the picture. If you do so you will confuse the viewer. Isolate your subject from things around it so that it is obviously the focus of your image. Never let your subject merge into the rest of the picture.


Actually, sharpness is a variable. Un-sharp parts of your picture are as important to the image as the sharp areas. This point is about the ‘way’ you use sharpness. Having a sharp subject and throwing the rest out of focus is one way to concentrate the viewers attention on the subject. It may be important to have sharpness right through the shot, or it may not. Sharp or un-sharp – ensure it is what you intended and that it helps your image.


Sometimes you can create a very simple shot. Other times not so simple. Whatever you manage, there is no doubt that the more complicated a scene, the more difficult it is to focus the attention of the viewer. This is a reminder to remove all distractions from the shot. Keep It Simple and Sweet (the KISS principle).


Composition is the one constant in every photograph. Study composition with all your energy. It is the fundamental that teaches you the way to set-up your scene in the image frame. It is a lifetime study.


A wise photographer once said,

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.

Ansel Adams
It may be satisfying for you to take a picture. But it is only a winner if you make it satisfying for the viewer. When you are taking your shot consider the viewer. Think about what they will see, try to understand what they will be visualizing. Try to pull them into the image, give them something compelling to see.

By the way

If you have stared at my image and think you know what it is and why it’s titled that way… leave a comment below!

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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