The Five Factors for Fantastic Photography

We’re agreed from a previous post that our eyes naturally zero in on the Point of Greatest Contrast. They can’t help it: our eyes and minds are wired that way from the womb.

That Point of Greatest Contrast happens to be, more often than not, whatever object – or scene portion – that is LIGHTEST &/or BRIGHTEST. Case closed. Point made.

Think about it, though. If that’s true for you and me, it’s also true for the viewers of our photos and we can use that one crucial fact to compel our viewers to rivet their attention on our Center of Interest – the thing we want them to pay attention to.

Your Center of Interest is that object, or portion of the scene, that is the most critical to telling the story, getting your idea across. (You are clear in your own mind on what you’re trying to convey in your photo, right?) What was it Ansel Adams said? “There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept.”

Make your Center of Interest the LIGHTEST &/or BRIGHTEST! This is powerful! Now that we’re aware of that, our images can be more compelling and articulate.

But wait! What do I mean by LIGHTEST or BRIGHTEST? Simply this… LIGHTEST in tonal value or BRIGHTEST in color. Most, but not all, scenes are composed of mostly middle to darker tones: middle grays to blacks. That means there are fewer lighter tones… usually. In the photo above, notice where the lightest and brightest points are: they’re attached – or very close to – to the Center of Interest, the Gateway Arch. They don’t detract by being away from the Arch, our Center of Interest.

With color, the hue that grabs our attention the fastest is YELLOW and any other hue that contains significant amounts of yellow. Yep, you know what I’m saying: BRIGHT GREENS and ORANGES do grab our attention pretty fast, don’t they? Yellow registers faster on our minds than any other color. The next time you go driving notice how much more yellow vehicles stand out from the crowd. (But how many of us would drive a taxi?!)

For Colorado Springs denizens eager to develop their talent and prowess with a camera, check out for workshop info. Saturday morning and Tuesday evening classes still have a few openings. First time visitors are welcome to come and “kick the tires” as my guest, but you’ve gotta call and RSVP first.