I completely agree and in no particular order, but impact may be the most important in transporting the image to the level of "art" or "moving" the viewer.
I got a book of Bresson photos (Silence within?) and was struck by how technically poor yet utterly compelling many of his portraits were. IMO composition and timing (temporal composition?) are key. On a separate note, the subject is often irrelevant for abstract work while for others technical excellence is of highest importance.
Sent from my PI86100 using Board Express
Okay, I'll play...
A generous dose of potassium nitrate... or Viagra, depending on the situation.
Vision, vision, vision
Good subject matter is completely subjective, timing is dependent on the nature of your subject, quality of light is a subjective decision and technical perfection is mostly subjective. Good composition however has cultural norms and aesthetic standards that appear intuitive, but are in fact mostly analytical and part reference to the lineage of painting, cinema and still photography.
In that case, if I was forced to choose three, I'd go with education (in visual art, self-taught or otherwise, but disciplined and broad), composition*, and personal integrity.
*Composition - shouldn't be read as a puzzle with one learned, academic solution - it's mostly analytical in the sense that there is soooo much information* and each person will make their own conclusion. That's where personal integrity comes in. We're not computers, despite the word I've used below!
*Information - it's dangerous when making photographs to think in terms of 'objects', which only leads to the defeatist idea that "everything has been photographed". (I'll stop editing here, but...) Some photographers think in terms of 'objects' as symbols, which is information.
Probably the most expensive lens and top of the line body.... no?
tkamiya - actually that's about as valid as anything else said so far.