Oh man, that’s a loaded question! But I’ve loved exploring it over the last decade of building my photography business.

To be honest, my definition has changed a ton over the years and I think that’s okay because we’re all learning and growing no matter what stage we’re at in photography. Maybe you’re brand new, but have a passion for this creative pursuit and just know in your bones that this is for you. Or maybe you’re hovering around the 5-year mark and recognize that even skilled artists can learn something new. A good photo looked different to me when I just started than it does now.

Currently, I think it comes down to 3 simple things you can ask yourself…

Is the photo composed well?

Even if you’re still snapping photos with your iPhone, you can prioritize composition. Composition is the arrangement of objects in your photo. Choose a subject and pay attention to how the photo changes depending on how the subject is framed between elements like the horizon, foreground, background, other objects, or any distractions.

Does the photo convey emotion?

Your photos should tell a story. A father seeing his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time; a mother playing with her children; a couple basking in their love—these stories are full to the brim with emotion and if you can capture that feeling on camera, you’re golden.

Does it have a soul?

I don’t want my photos to be pretty. That should be a given! Instead, I want them to mean something to both the people in them and those who look at them in the future. Can you see into the souls of the people in my images? Do you feel like you know them? That’s a good photo.

If you’re still practicing your craft, don’t worry! It takes time to train your eye for better photos. I’ve been at this for a decade and I’m still always learning, tweaking, and playing.

The good news is, I’m here to help.