The XXX Factor

Introduction from D-Photo Issue 92

Landscape photographer James Stanbridge looks at the three key elements essential to creating outstanding photographs, regardless of genre or style

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Introduction Excerpt from Article

For full article text, please purchase a copy of D-Photo Issue 92 online or from your nearest retailer.

I scratched out many revisions while writing this piece, trying to boil down what it takes to make a great photo. What became very clear is that there is no one thing that can make your photos magically better. The truth is that taking great photos is a complex recipe and process of trial and error, refined through the practice of taking many pictures.

The other truth is that there are many images in our lives in today’s visual age. What once passed as a stellar image now drifts on by in the endless tide of pictures assaulting us from all sides. This is where the XXX Factor comes from – X Factor is no longer enough. You need XXX Factor. You need sexy photos that grab the viewers by the eyeballs and don’t let go. 

This may at first seem disconcerting – how can you learn to craft pictures of this calibre?! This is simply the time we live in, equal parts boundless opportunity and fierce competition. Luckily, the keys have been left out on the table, and the knowledge is out there if you just get behind the wheel.

Photography is one of the great artistic pursuits, a dialogue between the outside world and the photographer’s perspective. Perspective is a learned way of seeing and thinking about the world. Within your unique perspective is your greatest gift and most powerful weapon. Using this weapon is the key to unlocking your potential as an image maker.

There are three things I believe are essential ingredients to great pictures. These are emotional resonance, technical ability and environmental conditions. Photography is a dialogue between the outside world (environment) and the inside world (emotion), with the camera (technique) as the interface between those two worlds. Understanding these aspects and approaching them thoughtfully will help you unlock your potential as an image maker.


Images Included in this Issue