What makes a great photo? In this video, photographer JP Stones explores how geometry, psychology, and biology can help answer this question, and how the answer completely changed the way he went about planning and composing his photos! The video looks at what we can learn from the great painters, and then how that can be applied to your photography in a practical way.

A photo becomes ‘great’ if it can provoke an emotional reaction. That should be the goal of every photo you take.

But how do you emotionally affect someone?


It’s hidden in plain sight, but once you see it, it’s kinda hard to unsee it right?

And there’s more to geometric composition than creating shapes within a scene. The painting itself is a rectangle, which means it has its own internal geometry.


Just like the storytelling elements in the painting. The use of geometry here is also deliberate.

You can see the composition is designed to echo this diagonal in the rectangle. The diagonal seems to move through Adonis’ arm and then through the body of Venus. You may not have noticed this initially, but your subconscious totally did. That’s because our brains break complex scenes down into more simple shapes to speed up processing times.

All this doesn’t happen by accident – at least not very often – it’s deliberate. JP spent hours building up the composition of each photo in the series so the location, perspective, pose, and lighting work together. Geometry shouldn’t take away from the narrative. It’s the opposite. Geometry helps prime a viewer’s interest in the narrative composition. It increases the chances a viewer will react emotionally and remember your photo and the chance you’ll create a great photo.

So what do you think? Has this video helped you with your work? Have you used these theories before in your images? Let us know in the comments below.

*content shared with permission