To Create Aesthetics Photos, Print your Images

Two lions in Kenya. Photographed in black and white. Photograph by Amar Guillen, photographer artist.
Two lions in Kenya. Photographed in black and white.

How Defining Aesthetics in Photography?

By now you probably understand that photographic aesthetics is a philosophical theory that allows you to identify why people appreciate your photos.

You may also understand that it is so important to carry out this research so that you can consolidate your photographic foundations.

The next logical step is to find out how you can define the aesthetics of your photographs.

As I often recommend, only knowing definitions and theories is useless if you do not act.

Knowledge without action is totally useless.

Understanding the principle of photographic aesthetics allows you to dive deeper into the meaning of your creations.

You need to take a leap of faith by applying a few techniques and recipes.

Never limit yourself to some pompous theory, it may be esoteric.

Be curious, be attentive, and above all, act.

Here are a few simple tips.

Tip #1

The first piece of advice I will give you is to simply ask people why they like your photos.

Choose a small circle of approximately 10 people maximum.

Be sure that your selection of individuals is eclectic and diverse, with varying perspective from those within the circles of family and friends. You may wish to also select people whom you do not know physically but with whom you are in contact through online social networks or other media.

Regardless of whom you choose, you need to trust the circle of individuals whom you decide to contact.

They may or may not be photographers. Photographers will give more technical advice. Non-photographers usually share more of their feelings and emotions. Both groups are beneficial.

Never forget that each person will have different opinions about the beauty of your photographs.

The "Like" button of some social networks is useless when trying to progress in photography.

Never forget that this function was created on several social networks with only one purpose: to flatter your ego.

You may be proud that a certain photo has gained a lot of "likes", however, this forces you to keep coming back to this network only to post your future projects. You will not go anywhere else, thus restricting your opportunity.

The purpose of these social networks is to force you to spend as much time as possible using them. Remember that when a service is free, you are the product that is being purchased.

In the case of social networks, companies want you to see their advertisements.

Instead of focusing on the quantity of “likes” your photos have, ask your followers to share their thoughts in the comments section. Even if it is only a few sentences, these comments will contain more substance and vitality than a “like” ever could. It redirects the focus on the stories and connections of people rather than the quantity of the followers.

Once you have retrieved comments, write them down in a document. Then compile them to identify similarities. These strong ideas help you to understand how your work is impacting your audience.

The comments section of social media will always reveal interesting perspectives about yourself that you did not know. It helps you to better understand your work. Whether specific or general, the feedback about a photograph affirms your propositions of truth.

Keep in mind that the sensory experience you offer is primarily visual. Comments should relate to this sense.

Tip #2

The second way to discover the aesthetic value of your photos is by participating in contests.

Do not hesitate to compete in contests. As I mentioned in another article, you need to know the judging criteria. You need to know what makes one photograph more desired over another.

If you do not know the reason behind your ratings, you will not be able to participate well. You might be disappointed by your ranking or the notes you get when your photos were certainly interesting.

Always ask to receive feedback on your submissions.

For example, I annually participate in the PPA (Professional Photographers of America) national competition in the United States. I pay to receive a video recording of the comments that have been made about my photos. I have found that this is the only way for me to progress.

When you enter a competition and receive excellent feedback and positive ratings, you must understand that these marks are useless if you do not understand why you received them. If you are only focused on receiving a good rating instead of believing constructive criticism to be beneficial, then you are only flattering your ego, and you are not becoming a better photographer of the creative process.

Participate in contests. Ask for feedback.

Tip #3

A third way to discover the aesthetic value of your photos is paper printing.

The first two tips are based on a visual “first impression” appreciation of your photos. While this is good, it is not enough.

A photo only exists when it is printed on paper. Printing on paper is the purpose of all your photographic activity.

You have two possibilities to use your printed photos:

  • Exhibitions.
  • Decorations.

When you finally see your printed creation, you will certainly feel that strange sensation of having achieved an important goal.

It feels like being born. I print frequently to see if my developments are correct. I am not qualified as a professional printer, but I am good at it. With every picture that flies off my printer, my heart beats a little bit faster.

It is during this ultimate step that you will truly realize the qualities of your photos.

A paper print does not forgive. All your qualities and defects are visible.

If you hang pictures on your walls you will be able to judge their impact by seeing the reactions of your visitors. You will be the judge of your photos based off the responses of others.

Tip #4

The first tips discussed ways to make your photos appeal to others.

However, I have often noticed in my work that listening is difficult.

Hearing is when we can recognize a sound.

Listening is when we make the effort to understand the meaning of that sound and why it is happening.

Listening not only requires concentration, it also requires a commitment to fully encounter an experience without hiding emotions behind words.

This commitment can be scary. Indeed, we are exposing ourselves. We break down protective barriers. By being vulnerable, we may discover things about ourselves that we want to avoid.

For this reason, judging yourself based off the subjective opinions of others is not always the right solution to define the aesthetics of your photographic creations.

The fourth solution of identifying the aesthetics of your photos involves an analysis of yourself. It includes introspection. Try to understand your preferences, and why you chose them. Personal introspection is often an excellent way to get to know yourself.

Take a piece of paper. List the colors, sounds, smells, and places you like, the people you love, and the things that make you happy. Use this checklist to see how you place yourself into your work. This will give you a list of why you like your photographs.

The Two-ways Analysis of a Photo

Although I have explained the importance of aesthetics in photography, it also seems interesting to situate photographic aesthetics into a context of judgment.

This is what I call the “Two-Way Analysis” of a photo.

It complements other methods of judgment and analysis that I have developed in other articles.

A photograph can be analyzed in two directions:

  • Aesthetic analysis.
  • Heuristic analysis.

Aesthetic quality is characterized by all the elements that make people find your photographs beautiful.

Heuristic quality is characterized by all the elements that make your photographs creative. That is, all the creative elements that you put in place to create your photo.

Heuristics is the art of inventing, of making discoveries.

You can now add this new method to your list of judging and analysis tools.

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At this point, you may be asking yourself “Why then do we have so many methods for judging and analyzing photos?” The answer is not easy. I will let you think about this extraordinary quote that I read many years ago that has not left my mind since:

"Photography is like a foreign language that you feel like you speak fluently.”

This sentence was one of the triggers for the creation of my blog dedicated to the photographic approach.


To conclude this article about aesthetics in photography, I will insist on the fact that photographic aesthetics is the definition of why some people find certain photographs to be beautiful. It is as simple as that.

The best advice I can give you is to ask your audience why they have this passion for your photographic activity.

You will come out of this discovery process as a stronger and more interesting creator, who can handle criticism with confidence and grace.

I sincerely think that you should conduct this self-analysis because it will teach you about yourself. You may be surprised by the results.

Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.


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