A few weeks back I blogged about a some of the things you can do to make your photography better. If you haven’t seen it, please read https://dougkeech.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/ten-things-to-strive-for-in-your-photography/.
Further to that post, I’d like to add a few more observations to each consideration and some of the specific factors that can influence such.
1.) Does the photograph possess a beauty in and of itself?
Influential factors: composition/balance, subject matter, light, tonality/contrast, colour
2.) Does the image shock you in some way as to keep you wanting to look?
Influential factors: subject matter, compositional technique, timing
3.) Does the image have a universal appeal or value?
Influential factors: shared experience, subject matter, timelessness
4.) Is the photograph poetic or symbolic of something larger?
Influential factors: shared experience, subject matter, photographic technique, processing
5.) Is the image interesting to look at?
Influential factors: subject matter, compositional technique, frame, moment
6.) Is the photograph significant in some way?
Influential factors: subject matter, uniqueness, relevance to the time, descriptive ability
7.) Is it useful in that it documents a place and time or describes a human condition?
Influential factors: relevance to a certain event, descriptive ability, encompasses a story
8.) Does the image spark an emotion in you?
Influential factors: gesture, intimacy, shared experience/memory trigger
9.) Does the photograph have enough context for you to know what you’re looking at?
Influential factors: distance, frame
10.) Has the photographer confined the significant detail and rid the image of the unimportant clutter?
Influential factors: frame
Garry Winogrand was quoted once as saying that it’s the photographer’s problem to figure out a way to make the photograph more interesting to look at than the thing actually being photographed. And obviously there are many more criteria that go into making a photograph than the ones mentioned here. However, I have found it a good exercise to go through each of the above things to strive for in your photography and try to think of examples of images that illustrate the points as a good example and as a bad example.