We would all love to make sure every photo we take has that “wow factor”. You know the type of shots that I’m talking about. These are the types of images that stand out in your portfolio and make people take notice. Whether it’s a beautiful landscape, an iconic landmark or an emotive portrait, these types of photos are the holy grail. But how can you ensure you capture these types of shots? Here are 7 tips to help you capture those “wow factor” shots.
Accept it won’t always happen
The first thing that you should know and accept is that these types of photos won’t happen every time you pick up a camera. Unless you are photographing in a controlled environment like a studio, you will have to rely on the elements out there to make your shot special. Great photos require many factors to come together and sometimes this just doesn’t happen. At other times you have to be patient and wait for them to occur. The important thing is to simply be aware of the fact that sometimes you won’t be able to capture those “wow factor” shots. If it was that easy to capture them, when you do take one it wouldn’t be as special.
Look for the “extraordinary”
The easiest way to capture stunning photos is to find scenarios where amazing things are happening. This could include everything from an interesting subject to amazing light. Or it could be that the weather conditions are serving something spectacular. These are the easiest ways to capture those unique and unbelievable photos. But of course, this does mean that you will have to look or wait for them to happen. For example, a seascape will look nice and pretty in beautiful sunshine. It may even be a more commercially viable photo to sell. But a big storm and crashing waves are far more likely to cause people to look again. So be on the lookout for these unique scenarios and as soon as they occur head out to take your photos.
All photographers would love to have these amazing conditions happen whenever they take photos. The reality is that it doesn’t happen often. So most of the time you have to try and capture the best shots with the conditions that you have. One way to give your photos the “wow factor” is by showing an angle or point of view that people may not have seen before. For example, this could be from a low angle view or an elevated view which isn’t the usual “viewing area”. This might require more effort to get to like having to hike further, specialist planning or equipment like hiring a helicopter or using a drone. But the shots you will end up with will be far more interesting to the viewer than the standard eye-level ones.
Another way in which you can look to find those amazing photos is by looking for unique stories such as events that are not always happening. For example, a photo of a supermoon or a celestial event that might not happen for another 100 years will give people more reason to be “wowed”. Or it could be a unique festival that only happens every few years or one that is in a hard to reach location. The fact that it is in a remote location will mean that not as many people would see or photograph it. So your photos will be more unique anyway. But it’s important to remember that simply capturing these photos won’t make them spectacular. You still need to factor in your composition, light and other elements to make the best of the opportunity you are given.
Manipulate the scene
There are plenty of techniques and accessories these days that can help you manipulate a scene to turn it into a spectacular image. For example, using filters is an easy way to manipulate and control the light and even the subject in your shot. Use a neutral density filter and you can slow your shutter speed down even in daylight for long exposure photos. Or you may deliberately add something your shot like person positioned perfectly in the foreground of your epic landscape. There are also things like mist filters and even gadgets that can add elements into your photos. If you are a purest you may not agree with this type of photography. But if you are treating your photography as art then there should be no limit to what you can do.
Keep going back
Getting the perfect conditions for a shot can be extremely difficult. That is why often the best way to capture those “wow factor” shots is to keep going back to the same locations over and over again. The more times you head to a location the more chance of encountering great weather or interesting light. But also often you will find that you will be more inclined to try different things because you have taken the classic shot already. So you will spend more time looking around and trying different compositions which will be more likely to give you a unique shot. Obviously, this will be much easier for you to do if the location is near you. So keep going back to those locations in your vicinity again and again.
Give it your treatment
One of the things that often makes photographers stand out is their style. Look at famous photographers through the years and often you can tell them apart from the style and look of their photos. Sometimes this might be in the treatment that you give your photos. So try to find your unique style and show your photos with that treatment whether that is at the time of capturing photos or in post-production. Don’t be afraid to edit your photos the way you want to as sometimes your editing of photos can turn a good photo into a spectacular one.
To capture spectacular photos you have to be willing to work hard for them. Sometimes this means lots of research and planning. At other times this might mean walking further, higher or longer. It might also mean putting yourself through more like walking in the rain or cold in the early hours of the morning. But if you put the work in and have a little bit of luck, you might just end up with some spectacular photos.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.