Wanna Get Lucky?

How many times have you seen a picture where it just made you say “WOW!  I wish I could capture something like that!”  And, you ask the person, “How’d you get that shot?”  Typically you’ll get an answer like “Just got lucky I guess.”  Well, I am not sure I buy into that.  Does luck really factor into taking good pictures?  Perhaps on rare occasions it does, because as the old saying goes, “Even a blind squirrel can find a nut occasionally”

But consistently taking good pictures requires more than luck.  It requires certain key elements that anyone can incorporate to increase their “keeper ratio”.  Today, I’ll look at 5 ways to increase your keepers.  So, here’s 5 ways to get lucky!

  1. Plan ahead.  Just the mere act of planning for a shot can help.  If you know you’re going to be in the mountains, take a wide angle lens with you.  If you know you’re going to be at a party, take that nifty fifty.  Wildlife?  Take a zoom!  Remember, prior planning not only prevents poor performance, but it also can help you take better pictures.
  2. Learn the technical stuff.  Know the technical stuff.  Memorize it.   There are certain fundamentals you just have to know, and by taking that sundry stuff and migrating it to a point where it’s in the back of your head and you don’t even have to think about it, then they can become tools.  If you understand apertures inside and out, then you can really use depth of field to create better pictures.  The same goes for planes of view, angles of view, composition rules, and all that other stuff.
  3. Take lots of pictures.  As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.  So, stop reading forums, blogs, magazines, books, and all that stuff from time to time (except for my blog of course!), and get out there and practice, practice, practice!
  4. Look at the pictures of others.  Not only is appreciation of others work inspiring in its own right, but you can also train your eye to see what makes some images just “work”.
  5. Dedicate some time each day to do something related to photography.  It can be any of the above, from taking pictures, to editing pictures, looking at the works of others, studying your manual (learning about apertures, shutters, etc.), or any other photography-related ideas.  You can only improve your skills by repeated use.  Since I’ve referenced other idioms, another one could apply here:  If you don’t use it, you lose it.  Just like musicians who practice every day to get better, if you don’t practice your craft regularly, you won’t get better.

So, there you have it, 5 ways to improve your luck.  And this is just from my own perspective.  As is always the case when it comes to opinions, there are probably many more out there.  Got your own ideas about ways to “get lucky”?  Share them in the comments section or via email.  In the meantime, Happy Shooting – hope everyone can “get lucky”!