What Makes a Photo So Popular?
It's always been a bit of a mystery to me as to why some photos seem to have such mass appeal, while others, some of which I think are great, simply do not. The photo above has been one of my most sought after images for the past two or three years, and it seems to have something special that the general public finds appealing. It's been one of those images that I have to print over and over to meet the demand of buyers.
In this post, I'd like to discuss why this image has held the position of #1 for so long now. Let's begin by looking at what the image has to offer the viewer. Clearly, the red screen door demands your attention first and foremost. The green plant entering the image from the left and attaching itself to the door adds some interest. The Bluejay, while just a minor figure in the image, still adds some interest and perhaps even a focal point to the photograph. The peeling paint of both the door and the old house provide an interesting texture to the image, while the arched windows in the front door give us another area of interest. The angle of the screen door, which is hanging only by one secure hinge, adds yet another component to the overall impact of this photo. Finally, the shape of the photograph, which is long and narrow, usually printed 20 x 40 inches, replicates the shape of the door itself. All of this makes the photograph an image viewers seem to enjoy.
I believe it's important to look at our photographs in terms of the various elements within the image. Strong images are made up of many components, and it's those individual pieces that work together to create something special. Photographs are different from "Snapshots", in that they are thoughtful in their preparation. Good photographs need a degree of thoughtful examination before one hits the shutter button. In order to call oneself a photographer, we need to commit to creating images that are thoughtful in their execution, and that take the viewer into their own thoughtful journey. I believe the success to this image "Visiting the Old House" is due to the fact that it takes the viewer on his or her own secret journey. It takes the viewer to a personal memory or a fantasy of a place they wish to be. A good photograph should do just that.........take you on a journey. Good luck on your own journey toward photographic excellence.