How to Shoot a Killer Photograph

“Today everything exists to end in a photograph.”
~ Susan Sontag

I’m a photographer, so I thought I would take you through my process for shooting killer photographs.

First and foremost

Turn off the TV, get your butt off of the couch, grab your camera (any camera will do), and go outside. There is a world full of wonder just waiting for you right outside your front door.

Are you outside? Good!

Now that you are out of doors

First, simply enjoy being outside. Breathe in the fresh air, let the sun shine on your skin, touch your feet to the ground. Trust me, it’s good for you.

Now look at the weather and decide if there is even the most remote possibility of a killer photo. If the skies are low and dark and dreary, hanging like a dull gray blanket, then it’s probably a no go. In that case you have my permission to go back inside and turn the TV back on. But if there is any possibility of brilliance, you have to get out there and find your shot.

And don’t forget that stormy days oftentimes bring the most amazing possibility for killer photos.

Then what?

If your determine there is even the most remote possibility of a great photo, then get yourself as quickly as humanly possible to the spot where you know you can best capture the magic as it unfolds.

Don’t let the opportunity slip away.

Shoot shoot shoot

Once you get to your location, shoot as many photos as you can. Frame the scene in as many angles as you can imagine. I usually take 200 to 300 photos is in a single shoot, with maybe only two or three being usable photos.

Err on the side of too much material. You never know when you might get that special shot.

Don’t leave early

I can’t tell you how many times I thought the show was over and left my spot, only to get halfway home and have the sky light up with ethereal brilliance. There I am with in limbo with no time to get back and capture it.

Don’t leave until the credits roll.

When you get home

Download those photos and revel in the magic that you just captured. This is the time you get to uncover those few special photos that stand above the rest.

I love this part!

The Scene at Sunset
The Scene at Sunset – Not quite killer, but the best I could capture today.

What if you don’t capture anything usable?

So what! It happens (far too frequently than I’d like to admit). Just know that you did your part, and if you continue to do your part you will be rewarded with killer photos in due time.

Today everything exists to end in a photograph. You might just be the one who captures it.

So get out there.

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2 thoughts on “How to Shoot a Killer Photograph

  1. I had to get up at 5:30 this morning for a training that started at 7:30. As I was getting ready, I grumbled non-stop about being up so early. Then, when I was driving I was able to witness the stunningly beautiful sunrise reflected in the Mohawk River. I wanted to stop and snap photo after photo but chose to be responsible and get to the workshop on time. I thought of you and your post on capturing photos as I was kicking myself for not leaving earlier to catch the scene on camera.

    1. I’ve been there myself Dee. There are so many times when I am out and about and I see scene I would like to capture, but I either don’t have the time. or worse, I don’t have my camera with me. On those occasions I take comfort in the fact that through my photography I have trained myself to see and appreciate the beauty in the world around me. It wasn’t so long ago that I paid very little attention. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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