approximately one order of magnitude increase in the standard to
qualify for each star. Fractions of a star are rounded down. This is highly subjective, and I
probably spend way too much time thinking about what rating to give any particular image.
- * (one star)
A one star image is neither technically good nor aesthetically
pleasing. A typical example of a one star image would be most
snapshots or vacation photos taken with a disposable camera, or
a drivers license photo.
- ** (two stars)
A two star image might have something of interest in it, but
be nearly ruined by major flaws. A two star image may be
technically good, but just boring. A typical example of a two
star image would be any portrait you get taken in a mall or
Sears portrait studio.
- *** (three stars)
A three star image has some emotional, intellectual or aesthetic impact, at least if you know
the story behind the photo. A typical example of a three star image is an average newspaper
photo. It is likely to resonate for a sizable percentage of viewers.
- **** (four stars)
A four star image is worth framing. It usually has something to say, and doesn't need any
explanation to have an impact. It is good enough to be the focal point for an article in a
major magazine. A typical example of a four star image would be the fashion photography in
most catalogs from large retailers.
- ***** (five stars)
A five star image is perfect, or nearly so. Any flaws somehow manage to work to its
advantage. Good enough to be considered an important work of art. A typical example of a five
star image would be many of the popular photos by Ansel Adams.
I have not yet taken any photos that I would give 5 stars to. There are very few of my photos that I think are "Good".
I have learned enough that for any given shooting session, I will almost always get at least a
few "Decent" images. Overall all, I think I am a decent photographer, which puts me on the
same level as most other professional photographers. There are many "Good" photographers
out there, but most of them will charge many times what I do.
A note on post-processing. Using Photoshop and other tools, I can often
make enough improvements to get one more star than what the image looked
like straight out of the camera. Of the four star images I have so far,
half started out as a 3 star that just needed some tweaking.