Ever wondered why some photographs just work better than others? What do they have that makes us look at them deeply and for much longer than just a split second? Well, I call it the wow effect. Finishing my graduate program in Art Direction I used to work a lot with images – creating my own photographs, but also working with pictures that other photographers took. It was always much easier to work with the pictures that got “that something”, because they were just screaming at you with their visual power! They were easier to edit with other photographs and they were just very clear in the message they held.
How to achieve the wow effect
My list of what makes the photos have the wow effect is not that long, but I believe it summarizes the essential elements that a successful photo should have:
- Pleasant for the eyes !
- Great use of light !
- Bold colours or grey tones !
- Caring an important message !
- Bringing a fresh perspective !
The main factor of course are the visual qualities of an image. To make the photo rememberable and recognizable, it has to be pleasant for our eyes. Human eyes like everything that is symmetric, clear and even if it is not, it somehow has to make a pleasant visual effect on our brain. This dose not mean that any other image that is breaking the symmetry rule is a bad image; not at all. It is just most likely that some graphical elements and references from patterns and shapes inspired by nature are more likely pleasant for our eyes.
The qualities of a great photographer
Photography is all about the use of light, if in the studio or outside, light is what makes the image ! A great photographer is always concerned with the use of light and what message it brings to the photographed subject. Often very iconic images were also extremely well balanced in terms of the colors used or the tones of grey in black&white photographs. So what the image conveys and what its context is, has a great importance when analyzing the image. Often the wow effect is hidden behind the story that this image carries and therefore it is essential to know the context in which it was taken.
The most important and often neglected aspect of creating a great wow effect image is in the eyes of the photographer. It is the photographer’s mission to bring his fresh look onto the photographed subject and his own perspective will make the photograph most valuable as a piece.