Photos I Wish I Had Taken

Photos I Wish I Had Taken: Nhiem Hoang

Photos I Wish I Had Taken: Nhiem Hoang

Photo: Nhiem Hoang

What makes a great photograph?

For me, it tells a story in one glance.

It hits me like a rock and keeps my eyes transfixed while I drink it in. It makes me jealous on the spot.

I could go on and on but what’s the point?  What works for me may not work for you and besides, my taste seems to change with time.

I was looking through a ton of photographs for this post and I couldn’t find anything that compelled me take more than a momentary glance.

Then I saw this image and immediately my eyes popped.  I instantly wished I’d taken this photo.


The composition is provocative. With the heads cropped out I was forced to take a second look and get my bearings. What does this mean? What’s going on here? On second glance I realized I didn’t have to see their faces to know they were smiling—that the father and son are close. That Nhiem Hoang has captured a sweet and unguarded moment.

I love the way the child’s toes curl in—could he be giggling? And I love the way the shoes on the floor echo the subjects.

It’s an adorable take on a family portrait but the black and white conversation gives it some heft. Some grit.

Hoang could have kept their heads in, but then,well, would it have been as interesting?

I don’t think so.


What makes a great photograph for you?


More Photos I Wish I Had Taken

10 replies »

  1. It is a great shot, but I think you have lots of photos that tell stories, maybe not the ones that we think of, but the ones you have of the lions, I think it is, with the mothers and cubs interacting, they tell stories. I am always trying to find stories on my images, but as you said we are all different. I like stories about places, no people. though I often invent mine too.

    • Hi Leanne – I definitely do my best to communicate a story in every photo I take. I think I am successful sometimes, others not so much, but I strive for the elements that I love in other people’s work. It’s why I’ve enjoyed doing this feature on Photos I Wish I’d Taken because it inspires me to keep looking at other people’s photos and me thinking about what I want to say with mine. 🙂

  2. What a beautiful selection!!!

    I totally agree with your view on what really makes an image great.

    I could clearly see what kind of images makes people spend their invaluable time and comment.

    However striking is an image be, if that doesn’t invoke the thought process, it never crosses the “great” mark 🙂

I would love to hear from you!

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