How to take a great photo


When we were in Kathmandu and took the master class by Maksimishin, we discussed the “problem of a great shot”. How did it come that some photographers were lucky to take great shots, and some photographers were to wait for years until they could really make the one.


I am not here to retell the whole discussion because the argument was heated and the examples included about five names. But in short, the main idea is as follows. You don’t need to wait for the situation when you, such a cool photographer, are at some place out in the street and suddenly, bang, an elephant in drawers jumps out in front of you, just at the right time for you to take a cool shot, and here is that great photo, on the National Geographic’s cover. It will hardly happen. A great shot is a result of great work.

One can wait for the muse to come and suffer from waiting so long. In reality, the process is much more prosaic and work-intensive: you just need to make up your mind to do it and start doing it yourself. Almost any creative process comprises 99% of the chore, 0.99% of creativity and 0.01% of luck. When we talk about photography, we are to decide the above problem like this. Choose the place, the texture, the light, the situation, the format. Then work on the shot until you really get it. You need to work for a long time and, if it is possible, hard and no matter what. If you fail, then change the place, the texture, etc. That is the way how you, perhaps, will take a great photo, or a couple of great photos, which can be shown to people. The spectator will be surprised, “How did he/she manage to seize such a great moment? What luck!” Doesn’t it seems to you that it sounds like we are in fishing, honestly!

In Nepal, when I noticed a rather interesting back part with a film billboard on a corrugated fence, I chose the position at a busy corner during the rush hours and was standing there for 40 minutes. I tried different angles, exposures and apertures – I made about a hundred of shots, and one of them, as the minimum, I consider a “lucky” one. Do you think it is quite normal? I do.

The post is continued with some MB of those photos. You can see the dynamics of the shot development and the attempts to catch something worthwhile.

The shots in green frames are now in the folder named “OK”. The red framed shot is in the final series. All photos are clickable.

In total, I have taken 89 photos, then I have chosen 12 out of those 89, and finally I have chosen only one out of 12.

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