The True Value of an Image

I’ve been involved in a discussion elsewhere which has delved into the matter of people providing critique on other people’s images.

It has materialised that some people do not feel they can or should comment on other people’s images if they feel they lack experience, artistry and technical know-how.

Myself and some other commentators have encouraged such people to comment on images.



The majority of people who look at your photos are going to be non-photographers.

By the same token, if you’re a famous musician, most of the people who will listen to your music are non-musicians.

Sure, many people who do see or hear your work are also going to be people who also produce images or music themselves, and they will be your harshest critics; but it’s always good to take the opportunity to learn from those people, as they can offer you advice about your work that can only come from someone accustomed to the creation process, as opposed to someone who can merely see an image and like it, but not create it themselves.

Don’t ever feel you cannot offer something if you don’t see yourself as being at the same level as those whose work you critique.  What you can offer other photographers is the important stuff: the human element about why you like the image and how it strikes you, and not the sharpness, focus, depth of field, bokeh and other techno-babble you can read in any book.

By way of example, a while ago, someone bought a large canvas print of one of my images to hang in his office, and he emailed me to tell me that he spent a lot of time at that location when he was younger.

My image reminded him of good times from the past; I’m sure he didn’t give two hoots about the fact that my exposure across the image was good, that I composed as per the rule of thirds, that the depth of field was deep and that the colours were fantastic; for the person who looks at my image every day, it’s about his time growing up.

Nobody’s ever going to remember your images for being technically correct.

To me, that discussion goes to show that to the viewer, an image is about emotional impact; about times, places and people the viewer considers important.  Only photographers get caught up in all the technical stuff.

Sure, matters of composition, exposure, focus and the like are important, but they are merely building blocks for an image, and we as photographers should not lose sight of the fact that we are producing images that will have some sort of emotional impact on the viewer, and that is the value to be remembered.


One thought on “The True Value of an Image

  1. Jules

    I totally agree. It’s not the technicality of an image that will remain stamped in someone’s mind, it is their own emotional response to it. I need to remember that more often than I do – both in taking my own photos and reviewing those of others. Thanks X.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s