What it Takes to Get a Great Image

What it Takes to Get a Great Image

As part of my going further with photography, I’ve been seeing two different approaches to shooting in public:

  1. The quick shot where you look for a shot, set up and take it. Move on. Set up can involve a tripod or lens change, but the idea is to grab it quickly and move because you are in public and time can be critical (light, crowds, etc.)
  2. See the shot. Take some test shots. Check your work. Move around a little looking through the lens to look for compositional ideas. Set up. Take the shot. Take your time. Try some different apertures, shutter speeds and maybe bracket (some would argue you should always bracket—if you want an HDR shot, you will have to bracket, may as well do it for all the shots/setups) before moving. Stop and think about it. Take your time.

I have always, when doing my own shooting, usually alone, been in the former. But I see the benefits, both philosophically and literally, of taking time. This video of Trey Ratcliff trying to get a shot set up at Cinderalla Castle in Disney World:


(video from this g+ post by William Beem)

Very patient man. At the end of the video, you can see the results in the final image, but I wanted to share it here to make my point about taking the right time to get the right shot:

image by Trey Ratcliff. Follow him right now. Trust me.

Very inspiring to see how a shot like this comes together. If you want to be blown away, check out Trey’s portfolio: click here for g+, SmugMug (he sells prints).

I’ve got a long way to go and a lot of images to make. But I like it that way.

  • http://kristanhoffman.com/ Kristan

    Gorgeous shot, and I like the subtle use of HDR.

    I clicked through to his pictures on G+, but I thought the HDR in most of those were overdone. It’s a personal preference, I realize, but there’s something artificial-looking about most HDR photos for me. I prefer a more natural beauty.

    I do/can appreciate a photographer’s personal processing style, though.

    • http://blurbomat.com/wordpress/ blurb

      I think he has a good compositional sense as well, which is largely why I shared this video and image. I agree that HDR imagery can seem artificial. 

  • http://www.ryanwaddell.com Ryan Waddell

    I’m almost always in the former category as well – but that’s primarily because I basically NEVER go anywhere with the sole purpose of taking photos any more.  I’m always sightseeing with my wife and/or kids, and they tend to not appreciate the patience required to capture a good shot.  So I do a lot of run and gun shooting, hoping for the best. :/

  • Shea Goff

    Thanks for the links! I appreciate being able to listen to these photographers talk on the Trey Ratcliff podcast.