What can I do to get fantastic shots?

posted March 28th, 2017
I have been blaming my kit lens, however I see some very creative shots and processing to realize people can do wonders with what they have. So I am inspired and take pictures with what I have at a given day and time. With a full time job and a 5 year old with ton of dietary restrictions, life do get in the way but I am a creative person and I need some outlet.

I really need critical feedback like what I could have done better or different to make my shots more creative.

posted March 28th, 2017
I like that shot :) ... BUT, if I wanted to be a bit different, I would concentrate on the non-standard view of a skyscraper - for example the angles, shadows & lines on the wider white building - just focus on a tiny part of the building & make the shot more abstract. Or perhaps the building in the bottom corner that seems to have different colours to the rest?
That's the sort of thing I look for - I'm no expert though :)
posted March 28th, 2017
Hi Zita, I've looked through your album. You do have some interesting photos. I really like that you have the correct mindset that "fantastic shots" have very little to do with the camera. And to a degree, also little to do with processing. A "fantastic shot" is usually already a "fantastic shot" before any processing is done. The processing just puts the icing on the cake. In my opinion, when it comes to "fantastic shots" it's pretty much always about the composition. And usually, the more simple the image is, the better. Because in a way, that's how we "see" -- we just don't realize it. Our eyes look at a complex scene, but when they settle on a particular thing, all else is "filtered" by our brain and we only "see" that one thing. A camera can't do that without very explicit composition.

So it all starts with the very first question any photograph should be able to answer and that is, "What is my subject?" I think that is the case with the image you have posted here. It uses a compositional technique called "dutch angle" in order to be creative and interesting. However, what is the subject? The jagged skyline? The colors of the buildings? The patterns? Shapes? It ends up being a complex image and our eye can't readily pick out a specific subject you intended for us to see and so our brain begins to filter things out it ends up telling us "nothing to see here." So Caroline's advice applies: This particular image could be more creative and interesting if there was another composition which would emphasize a specific subject (i.e. a feature or pattern, or texture, or lines, etc of the architecture). Granted, your vantage point might not have allowed a better composition so it is what it is.

I think a good example of a strong image is your candelabra. It has a unique viewpoint and a simple composition of circles and then diminishing perspective lines which add depth. Even if it could be improved with some technique, it is still in my opinion, one of the strong images in your album. Also a good image is the New York Times Square Day 1. Why? The subject is clearly evident, and the background supports the story of the image without distracting or detracting from the subject. Is it perfect from the perspective of technique? Possibly not one could argue, but in my opinion that doesn't much matter because regardless, it is still a really strong image. I hope this helps to start your adventure into composing strong photographs, and I look forward to following your work! :)
posted March 28th, 2017
OMG, it makes so much sense. Here I am standing on top of Empire State and wondering what kind of shot will be really kool. I really like that composition has so much weightage in making a shot fantastic because I really can't afford to buy 5 different lenses or travel around the world right now.

Thanks @dbj_365 and @carolineb7 for taking out time and replying to my post.

However, I encountered something else on the Empire State Bldg and will share that once I get back home.
posted March 28th, 2017
Wow, you've gotten some great advice here & I'm glad I've gotten to read it too. Another suggestion...when you see a shot you like, by someone else or your own, try to figure out why you like it, not just "neat shot" but why...what do like in it that makes it strong. Then you can start applying those element to your own work. Good luck...and have fun.
posted March 28th, 2017
I agree with what's been said above that ultimately, your kit doesn't really affect what you can do.
So often, photos look only mediocre because there's too much going on and the viewer can't figure out what to focus on or there's no real definite subject.



I've had a look through your project and this one is my favourite of your photos because it's simple, without distractions and has a strong subject. You could maybe also try it as a panoramic shot to get more of the skyline in, or compose it so you get the real lights on the buildings and the reflections as well - that's often a really good technique.

As for learning to get fantastic shots, you're in the right place! I've been shooting daily for 15 months now and my photography has improved more than I could have imagined! Practice makes perfect, especially mindful practice where you think about every shot you take and what makes it good etc :)
posted March 28th, 2017
I would agree with Annie, practice. Not every shot can be perfect, amazing or spectacular. Follow people who are recommended or whose pictures you admire on popular page or latest. Enter the challenges and observe how others interpret themes or meet a challenge. Also find your niche or genre and concentrate on that prhaps?

I'm still getting to grips with driving my camera, but am chuffed when a photo comes out vaguely as I envisage it. Good luck, enjoy experimenting and sharing here on 365.
posted March 28th, 2017
Consider starting small projects.

The joy needs to in actually taking the photos and posting the photos.

Shooting each week's theme is a great start. But personal journey projects are also worth the time.

Follow photographers beyond just this site.

Take a free class on CreativeLive.com

Don't pressure yourself to be brilliant. Just pressure yourself to be authentic.

posted March 28th, 2017
You are getting great advice here. So I will give you a simple piece of advise one that I struggle with all the time. That is see the picture that is in the view and not in your head. So when you take all this wonderful advice above take a good look in the view and see if you have actually caught the shot you intended. Sometimes it isn't possible and you have to try something else and that is easier when you are there then home feeling regrets.
posted March 28th, 2017
I don't do photography professionally, but my feeling, as you build an album, is not to "shoot to impress" but to shoot what you feel about what you see. That seems the best way to begin, and as you see what others post, you'll be drawn to angles and distances and DOF and styles that you'll try to emulate. We love to be asked how we accomplished a photo, and everyone's very forthcoming. Stay the course daily, and wonderful things will happen! And you're absolutely correct that an artistic cannot be denied an artistic outlet! You WILL make it happen! My best to you!
posted March 29th, 2017
You've certainly gotten some superb advice here, Zita. I would echo the recommendations to "picture the picture" and not complicate the photo, and just continue to shoot and post. Your skills will evolve, without you really realizing it. I think just about everyone came to 365 to find inspiration and to improve in their photographic skills, so you're in good company. I look back at photos that I posted three years ago, shots that I though were pretty good at the time, and that I now realize had all kinds of flaws. But through absorbing some of the lessons, often subconsciously, I've seen improvement and I'm not even quite sure how. But I know that by following people whose skills I've admired and comments received I've grown. The people here are very supportive and you'll always get complimentary comments, maybe even too kind sometimes. If you request a critique, that "veil of kindness" will be pushed aside some and you'll get some very constructive and helpful tips. I'll follow you and even though I do not consider myself to be any kind of photographic wiz, will be happy to offer whatever help I think might be of use. You've definitely come to the right place!
posted March 29th, 2017
Thank you all so much for the words of wisdom and offering to help. @stray_shooter @Weezilou @joansmor @swguevin @30pics4jackiesdiamond @blueace @granagringa



posted March 29th, 2017
My advice is to keep it up. Take lots and lots and lots of photos each day (or even just one photo on that crazy busy day) and then look through and pick out the one that stands out to you, post (or edit if time, then post). Rinse, repeat. I learned so much my first year just by sheer repetition of the process. Not every shot will be good...you toss most of them. Not every shot you post will be great...it will just be the one you liked best, that day. Many of us have some weird late-night awful snap of something in the kitchen...but we learn from those as well. Good luck!
posted March 29th, 2017
i would say, do not try to take great shots, take shots that speak to you, of things you love, of something that catches your eye, that makes you go, "ooohhhh" , that makes your heart beat faster.
posted March 29th, 2017
@catsmeowb Thanks for your advice,
@houser934 I joined 365 to push myself to go out and take more pictures and carry my camera which has been sitting idle for years.So Yes, I agree, doing it again and again will educate.
posted March 29th, 2017
And just to underscore Kathryn's great points, not every photo will be a gem. Far from it. I've always counted on the expectation that one out of every hundred shots will be a real keeper. At one point you'll find you took a real gem and you'll get all kinds of uplifting comments and you'll feel pretty good about your skills. (And then the next day will be a stinker, LOL!) One other point is most everyone on here is enhancing their photos to some degree with some kind of post processing software. It doesn't need to be elaborate, like Photoshop or Lightroom, which take an effort to master, but even the apps for the phones can really enhance a photo that already has some quality to it. There's no shame at all in processing.
posted March 30th, 2017
@stray_shooter I agree, every shot is not going to be good. I am learning the fundamentals of picture taking here :-)
posted March 30th, 2017
Such marvelous advice and this community is the gem. We help each other both directly and indirectly. Follow others and look at what, and how they've composed their shots. Practice all sorts of ideas, try shooting what you feel strongly about. Don't be afraid to ask in your comments how they did the shot or if they have any hints. Doing has been the key that has worked for me. I feel so lucky to have found this site which has sparked my inner creativeness. I am looking forward to following your work.
posted March 30th, 2017
Some really great advice here that I'm going to try out - thanks for asking the question @zita_2016
posted March 30th, 2017
Also, "copy" or take inspiration from what others have done! Most of us on here would be flattered to inspire someone, or give someone an idea of how/ what to photograph. If something works, ask yourself WHY it works and try to repeat that
posted March 30th, 2017
Lots of great advice on here. I'm glad I spotted this thread to read it. I feel that you never stop learning when it comes to photography.
posted March 30th, 2017
I've taken photography classes and taught photography classes. All the rules like rule of thirds and such are good, but in the end you have to follow your heart and eye. If you like it, that's all that matters. And, if you like something you see here on 365 and can't figure out how they accomplished it, ask them. That's how I learned to take a great moon photo.
posted March 31st, 2017
I looked through your album and you have a variety of interesting photos that show you have an eye for photography. I've been on the site for five years and I am still learning. I look at other member's photos to get ideas on perspective. I view the info on their photos which shows the camera settings for the photo. I also like the theme challenges because it sets a theme or an object to shoot. there's also the technique theme which helps you learn different photography techniques.
I am also an Ace member so I have free access to Picmonkey a fun and user friendly post processing/editing program. There is so much to learn about photography and the best way to learn is practice. So have fun and keep shooting
posted March 31st, 2017
Thanks everyone here who checked out my pictures and leaving your feedback. I am trying to incorporate your feedback, but mostly I understand Rome wasn't built in a day so I'll try to learn and absorb from others and take more pictures.

@blueace - I am in awe of some of the work and some day aspire to copy but I understand it will take a lot of practice and dedication.

@homeschoolmom - It's hard to ask about things which are pretty obvious to the whole world :-). But I am trying, taking one step at a time. Thanks for your comments and feedback.

@dmdfday - Thanks for looking through my pictures and leaving comments and for the tips. I might get ace membership and try out Picmonkey. I have been using Picasa until now.
posted April 1st, 2017
@joansmor said " That is see the picture that is in the view and not in your head." I had trouble achieving that until using a technique learned from a tip on using ultra wide angle lenses: Once you've selected POV and composed in the viewfinder, look at each of the 4 corner regions. That shows me the picture I'm about to take, not the one I think I'm about to take.

Now for some heresy. Want generic photos considered fantastic by most? Emulate birders: subject is a single entity, eliminate context as much as possible by using POV and DOF blur, strive for focus, micro-contrast and colors that POP. Or you could do what they don't: create images with a story or meaning or symbolism, or all 3. Learn composition so you can include elements that support the subject, story, etc. Treat f-stop, shutter speed, focus, lens choice, processing, etc as tools to capture the image you see in your mind's eye. If low resolution, lens vignetting, diffraction, focus blur, noise, chromatic aberration, etc. create the image you intended then your technical image quality is excellent.
Write a Reply
Sign up for a free account or Sign in to post a comment.