Many people using ink cartridges to print out their best snaps may think they know what it takes to make a great photo, but a new program from Xerox is seeking to teach a computer to do the same.

The printer supplies maker has unveiled its Aesthetic Image Search app, which uses an algorithm to analyse the composition of a picture and rate it as good or bad based on elements such as colour and exposure.

Xerox stated the program will seek to identify those that stand out from the crowd when placed among a range of snaps of similar subjects.

It said: "Here we tackle the difficult task of trying to learn automatically what makes an image special and makes photo enthusiasts mark it as high quality."

At the moment, the software – which is available on the Open Xerox website – is still in the alpha stages of development, so much more work may have to take place before the technology is perfected.

Recently, another innovation to help budding photographers was demonstrated by Adobe, which has developed a tool for its Photoshop software that can unblur a photo by compensating for camera shake.