Techniques Photographers Use To Make Memorable Images

Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India – Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India – Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Professional photographers employ a wide range of techniques when attempting to create memorable and impressive photos. Eric Kim, a well known street photographer, is known for making some amazing images. In a blog post he wrote about a research paper he had read that studied the various factors in articles that some more viral than others. He decided to use their “3 A” theory and apply to his photography. The three A’s stand for awe, anger, and anxiety. He has realized that his photos that invoke either one of those three feelings tend to leave a lasting impact on people when the view his photos. He now tries to look for those kind of moments when photographing people on the street.

Alex Brandon, in an interview with Nieman Reports, talked about how he was able to get some very memorable and amazing images from the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Instead of checking his emotions out at the door when photographing, he instead uses his emotions to drive his images. He told Nieman, “I use my emotions — such as the joy I feel when I see small signs of recovery and the anger that boils up inside of me by the slowness of it all — to motivate me to do justice to the story of those who are engaged in the struggle of a lifetime.”

In an article at The Telegraph, Giles Price says that when an image invokes an emotion people almost instantly find it good. He tries to seek out new ways of seeing things when taking his photos to help people feel emotion for them. He also looks for emtional moments to photograph, like the Maha Kumbh Mela, which is a huge Hindu festival in India where hundreds of millions of pilgrims go to. Such journey can be very emotional experiences for people. 

The key word appears to be emotion. These photographers want to capture and invoke emotion in their photographs and constantly look for ways on how to do that. 

Series on How to Make Impactful Photos

1. What is considered an impactful or memorable photo?
2. What makes a photo more memorable or impactful than another photo?
3. What are the key elements of a memorable photo?
4. What specific elements of a photo make it so memorable?
5. What is it about those elements that leaves such an impact on people?
6. How can a photographer make more photos that are memorable?
7. How can a photographer capture intensity in a photograph?
8. How do people’s faces affect the memorability of a photograph?


Brandon, A. (n.d.). Images Evoke Memories and Emotions. Nieman Reports. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from

Kim, E. (2012, September 10). The “3 A” Theory: The Secret to Memorable Street Photographs. Eric Kim Street Photography. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from

Price, G. (2017, February 28). Giles Price: what makes a good photograph?. The Telegraph. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from

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