The Good, The Bad & The Wow.

I recently had a discussion with some other photographers about the work that some photographers are giving to their clients. As photographers we train ourselves to critique our images, pick out any flaws and learn from them. Our clients are emotionally attached to their images, making it harder for them to be critical. If a photographer takes a better picture than you can yourself or does an effect that you cannot do then it must be a good picture…right? WRONG.

This post is about educating clients and pointing out some of the things that photographers notice in images. I found a couple who kindly agreed to me taking some good, bad and wow pictures of them. Amy and Shaun are an attractive couple, which is what I wanted. Bad photography can make even an attractive copy look terrible.

Be prepared this image is bad…really bad. And in no way reflects my typical work. This image is for educational purposes only.

So what is wrong with the picture? Where do I start? Horrible exposure. Uneven and unflattering lighting on their faces, orange skin, and awkward posing. I am sure that this are lots more but I have to stop looking…my eyes are hurting.

Now for the good image. I moved the couple a few feet and took this picture.

A huge difference right. Now the light falls even across their faces and it is an even, soft and flattering light. The exposure is correct and focus is sharp. No real posing has been done here. This is a good image. But….it does not evoke a reaction or a “wow” response.

Now for my favourite and some images that are typical of my work.

Now this image….this image makes me swoon. Exposure is correct. Focus is sharp. I wanted to make Amy the focus so I shot wide open (using a low f-stop) which blurs out the background. This adds depth to the image and adds a 3-d feeling. There is also genuine emotion in the image. The viewer also sees the connection between Shaun and Amy. That being said, I am a photographer and there is just one tiny little thing I would change about this image.

There is quite a difference right? I get that professional photography is expensive and times are tough. Please do your research. Do not waste your hard earned money on bad images.

All of the above images were captured with the same camera and lens – Canon 5D MKII and 24-70 f2.8L lens.


If you are still unconvinced of the magical power of beautiful light here is one more example.

Again this image in no way reflects my standard of work and is for educational purposes.

This image was taken at noon on a day when there was not a cloud in the sky. I had Angie stand in the shade with another pretty tree behind here. The wind was blowing her hair. It should have worked. But it did not. The light was not “pretty” light and there is no posing happening. The above image was captured with Canon 5D MKII camera and 24-70 f2.8 L lens.

I moved Angie just 15 feet into the “pretty” light.

See why I call it magical pretty light?


The above 2 images were captured with Canon 5D MKII camera and 85 f1.8 lens. The above 2 images also involved directed posing ensuring that truly showed  how beautiful Angie is.


I hope that this post helps show the difference between good, bad and wow images.

~ Jody

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