People ask me how to improve their photography, particularly street photography and spontaneous people shots. They ask how do I take such great shots? What is the key to taking striking images?
As with any skill, it takes some study time, some practice and it takes alertness. A famous adage for taking great pictures is to ‘use f11 ….and be there’! Its a sarcastic answer because many people think that if they just set their camera to f11, they’ll take a great shot when in reality, the great shot comes from not sitting on your couch and wishing you could take great pictures – you actually have to go out and get the great shot. Lots of times the picture ends up being a poor exposure or might have a blur or in this case, a flare from shooting into the sun. So using f11 would never have gotten the perfect exposure. Had I fiddled around to expose perfectly, I’d have missed the shot. What really makes this a great picture is – I was there.
That’s how I got this shot. Not by using f11, but rather, by being there and alert for what was going on around me. I had my camera set on AUTO so that I could quickly follow the freerunners who were doing trial runs for the Red Bull Art of Motion competition. Athletes were jumping, flipping and scaling up walls all around me so I was panning and zooming all over the place, snapping pictures like crazy.
I had been trying to perfectly time a fella doing a flip off of a roof to the walkway below when I guess this fella decided that I needed to take his picture instead. He jumped down right in front of me and held this pose for about 3 seconds, just long enough for me to compose the image in the viewfinder and shoot.
How do you get a great shot? Be there!