What makes a photo priceless?

Apr 28, 2014 | Commerce, EngagementCORE, English, TheColumnist

You don’t need a top of the line DSLR, or an exotic African tribe as a subject of interest. It is the ability to tell a story through a picture and relate to the audience which makes a photo priceless.

One of the common questions that people pose to me is, which camera do I need to capture photos like yours? There are only two types of cameras – one that you go out there to shoot with, and the other that is buried deep in your storeroom. My advice to anyone is that there are no good or bad cameras as all cameras have limitations, some more than the other. Knowing what kind of situations your current equipment can handle will allow you to maximise a photo’s potential.

Lines start to blur as the quality of smartphone cameras increase exponentially. Furthermore, app developments take full advantage of a smartphone camera to produce photos almost indistinguishable from a DSLR. Almost everyone around you holds a smartphone with the capability to capture incredible stories, but how many actually do?

In the following examples, I will let you in on the secrets.

Fall in love

Photo: Edmund Ng













Fall in love. Hang around people who love their work, love their life and live life to the fullest.

Intrigue someone

Photo: Edmund Ng

Intrigue someone. Capturing the bison in the middle of the road creates a mystery that prompts the viewers to wander around the photo in search for more clues.

Tell a story.

Photo: Edmund Ng

Tell a story. While you are surrounded by scenic mountains, do not forget to look around for a great story. By including their personal hiking equipment into the frame, it allows the viewer to infer that they are seasoned hikers and nature lovers.

Against all odds.

Photo: Edmund Ng

Against all odds. Odd-numbered subjects generate a sense of tension through the inequality of the composition. Conversely, even-numbered subjects tend to provide a sense of balance and comfort.

Opposites attract

Photo: Edmund Ng

Opposites attract. Mixing straight lines of the interiors with the blurriness of movement in long exposures creates a dynamic juxtaposition.

Beyond skin deep

Photo: Edmund Ng

Beyond skin deep. By understanding your subject’s culture, history and lifestyle, you will be able to find an appropriate and unique angle to portray them.

Aim for the stars

Photo: Edmund Ng

Aim for the stars. Get out often and do whatever it takes to get you your shot, even if it means long, cold nights in the middle of the wilderness.

Play with your food

Photo: Edmund Ng

Play with your food. Treat the crab like a fictional character or imagine that it is your best friend. If it could talk, what would it say to you?

The perfect wait

Photo: Edmund Ng

The perfect wait. Don’t be in a hurry to make the shot. Have the patience to wait for the softest light or the clearest sky.


Edmund Ng is a Senior Design Consultant at Consulus. He has helped to create visual identities and environment designs for clients in the luxury sectors. He has brought his photography expertise to a wide range of industries that include F&B, banking and hospitality.

This article is part of The Columnist, a newsletter by Consulus that offers ideas on business, design and world affairs. For past issues, browse the complete archive.

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