IMPACT - Something that catches the eye of the beholder.
A Visual Statement
An Emotional Stir
An Interesting Design
Stirring Color or Black & White
Singular without Distractions
Unbelievable - How did they capture that?
General exposure, color, zones, sharpness, presentation and no obvious gimmicks.
The more universal the appeal of the image, the better chance of rating with more of the beholders.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE & MEANING OF THE PHOTOGRAPH? -
Did the maker accomplish their goal? Could they have done better? Is the purpose and meaning clear to the beholder? Does the beholder have to guess what the intention of the photograph is? Is there continuity? (Power, beauty, mood, emotion, positive-negative, color action) Is the mood or feeling enhanced? Is the image believable?
QUALITY - (Nitpicking scrutiny) This can override impact in the final analysis.
Flawless Physical and Intellectual CRAFTSMANSHIP
Grain and Detail
Technical Aspects, Compression, Flare, Distortion, Highlights, Shadow, Spectacular Control