How to create a compelling image

by | Nov 13, 2017

Recipe for success

I’ve stated in more than one photo workshop that making a compelling image is a combination of many things but in my mind there are four main ingredients that keep it pretty simple: Subject, Composition, Light and Color.

using color to your advantage in photography

They don’t have to be in equal proportions but each of these appeal to basic human nature. We are drawn to interesting things that we have a connection to. We react positively to color and light and we present it in a way the viewer will understand with composition. Kind of like a great Italian meal with simple fresh ingredients. No need to over season but please don’t present a perfect meal on a sloppy plate.

ingredients to a great image

Photo instruction often focuses on more technical aspects of the art but I’m of the school that almost every camera and even your phone is capable of capturing a pretty good image so how deep you want to dive into the technical aspects is entirely up to you. I’ve seen kids who have absolutely no background in photography what so ever take amazing images because somehow they inherently know these basic ingredients.

I offer this image from a night ago as an example. The subject is really common but one that many can identify with or congers up positive imagery (the sailboat and sunset). Now add some color, interesting lighting and compose it simply without too many distractions and you have a pretty good image. Remember this simple recipe and you’ll be on your way to creating better images.

Remember keep it simple, less is more. Don’t over season your food.

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About the author Perry Johnson
Perry Johnson is classically trained commercial photographer and graphic designer with over 30 years experience. He initially crafted his skills at the École Supérieure Des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse in France. Over the years Perry has taught countless photography workshops and courses to individuals, groups and business including Target Corp., Lockheed Martin, Johnson Outdoors, Enza-Zaden and more. Perry’s commercial photography clients include Darden Restaurants, Marriott Corp, Visit Florida, Food & Wine Magazine, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to name just a few. Perry owns a marketing communications firm named Imagica ( This boutique agency offers a fully integrated menu of marketing services for business that includes photography, website design, graphic design, advertising, strategy, social media, public relations and more. It’s this current and diverse experience from the “outside in” that gives a unique perspective on the power of photography to inspire, motivate and tell a story.