Photo Laureates Photographer John Warton Replies to His Critics on What Makes a Good Photograph

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John Warton of photo laureates responds to comments in Internet forums about his judgment calls on photographs.

the picture as it is shot?

John Warton actively works at reviewing and evaluating photography submissions for a photography association called photo laureates (

He reads skeptical comments in Internet forums about his judgment calls on photographs and would like to offer his thoughts on the matter.

What makes a good photograph? Can “elite photographers” impose their vision of what “good photography” is? It is worth debating.

According to John from photo laureates, photography is beforehand a question of feeling: “I always tell my fellow amateur photographers to get back to basics before talking technical chit chat. Here is what matters to me: why are you into photography? What drives your shoots? What are you trying to say? How is this depicted in your compositions? Do you “feel” the picture as it is shot?”

Understanding one’s inner passion for photography is critical. Technicalities follow.

Quoting John from photo laureates: “Any time an amateur photographer shoots with her soul, this makes a better picture than one with excellent techniques -- but with no feelings or emotions. And techniques can be taught more easily than emotions.”

OK, so “technicalities,” as John from photo laureates ( calls them are just intended to materialize the feelings and emotions of the photographers.

Now, taking for granted that the emotion part is there, which techniques should an amateur photographer focus on to refine her art?

Quoting John from photo laureates: “I disagree on what I see in most Internet forums on what the top 3 technical elements are in making a good photograph. It is my opinion that the following are the absolute of all photography: subject, light and then framing.”

(1)    Subject: Think about your subject and the focus of your picture. John Warton: "I always try to ask myself what my point is in making a particular photo. Ask yourself what you are trying to demonstrate. What is your message? What vision are you trying to convey to your audience? What will they think of when they see your work?"

(2)    Light: It is the absolute of all photography. Make sure it stands out, throwing shadows and light in unique ways, created by the photographer's emotions

(3)    Framing. Quoting John Warton: "Hold your camera at different angles for more diversity in your compositions. Experiment with repositioning the camera before repositioning yourself. The most interesting photographs are often taken from a unique vantage point. So it is always good to experiment and to try different perspectives. Use angles to recreate the mood that you are trying to convey.”

John Warton is a senior photography editor at photo laureates. He has decades of experience in photography first as a freelancer, reporter and then as publisher. He is a member of various international photography associations (Association of International Art dealers, Photographic resource center...).

Photography Laureates ( offers the following:

  • A unique platform of self expression to the amateur and professional photographer
  • An opportunity to be published as part of a leading photography manuscript
  • 24/7 customer care assistance to help associate photographers gain exposure
  • Review and pieces of advise from the editors on submitted entries
  • A leading membership community where members can exchange and learn with other peers and experts.

About Photography Laureates (

The mission of Photography laureates is to provide a platform of artistic expression for amateur and professional photographers to gain exposure and recognition. Photo Laureates promotes photography and photographers through technical workshops as well as improvisation sessions.

An independent panel of experts at photo laureates reviews photographs based on the following criteria: technical quality, composition, flow, texture and light.

Photography laureates’ manuscripts are distributed internationally. Photographers retain all rights to their photographs. Photo laureates has more than 55,000 members and a 98% satisfaction rate.

For more information on Photography Laureates, please visit:

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